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K-Pop, The President And Protests

SUGA, Jimin, RM, J-Hope and Jungkook of BTS perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
SUGA, Jimin, RM, J-Hope and Jungkook of BTS perform onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

2020 is weird. There’s just no getting around it. Few would have believed that fans of Korean popular music were going to be a driving force behind fighting police brutality and white supremacy following the George Floyd protests. But that’s exactly what happened. Fans of the popular music genre are using their knowledge of online platforms to rally support for political causes and solicit donations.

They’re supposedly responsible for inflating the Trump administration’s expectations for attendance at a recent rally in Tulsa, for f looding police apps meant to solicit tips with false information during recent protests and for hijacking harmful hashtags on Twitter to drown out offensive messaging.

In short, despite coalescing around a genre of music largely built on colorful music videos and boy bands, they’re becoming a legitimate force in U.S. politics today.

How did K-pop stans go from making fan accounts to organizing for social causes? And should political commentators have seen it coming?

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