South Korean pop (known as K-Pop) is huge. Massive. Bigger than anything that we can seem to wrap our heads around.
Korea is in the era of solid boy and girl bands that we look fondly back on, like Backstreet Boys or the Spice Girls. The only difference is that K-pop (and Japanese pop/J-pop) is like our pop groups time about a billion.
Group members are seen as idols and have extremely dedicated, die-hard fans. The only real recent example of the power of K-pop that I can think of from the last ten years was Gangnam Style from Psy. You know the one.
K-pop also seeps into politics. South Korea previously retaliated to North Korea test-firing nuclear weapons by blasting them with ‘popaganda’.
Now former president Barack Obama has spoken of the US’ fondness for K-pop and specifically mentioned one of the biggest groups, SHINee.
In a speech in about US/Korean relations in Seoul, the former prez spoke about how Americans are learning Korean so they can understand and sing along to their favourite K-pop groups.
“Famous movies are being filmed in Korea. Young people in the U.S. learn Korean so they can understand SHINee,” he said, which was translated by AllKpop.
“Likewise, I heard SHINee likes USA’s In-N-Out hamburgers.”
Key from SHINee has since responded to Obama’s comments on their Instagram, posting a thank you note with some snaps of himself and the group at In N Out in the States.
I don’t know about you but I’m quietly squealing over the fact that everyone in South Korea seems to call him ‘Mr. Obama’ and ‘Mr. Barack’.
Stop it, this is too much.
Photo: Getty / Paul Morigi.