CRAVITY’s Allen Apologizes For Stating That K-Pop Doesn’t Appropriate Other Cultures

Allen previously stated that K-Pop “appreciates — not appropriates — many different cultures.”

In a recent interview with BuzzFeed News on his thoughts about K-Pop, CRAVITY‘s Allen was quoted as stating that K-Pop “appreciates — not appropriates — many different cultures.” After fans criticized him for being dismissive about cultural appropriation in the industry, Allen has taken to Universe to issue an apology.

When asked what K-Pop means to him, CRAVITY’s Allen had a lot to say about how he views the genre. The Taiwanese American idol described K-Pop as a “giant melting pot” of music, clothing, and dance, and expressed how “comfortable and grateful” he feels to be in the K-Pop environment as a non-Korean idol.

CRAVITY’s Allen | Starship Entertainment

However, Allen also made a statement that upset and frustrated many K-Pop fans: “[K-Pop is] also inclusive in a way how it brings together and appreciates — not appropriates — many different cultures and people from all kinds of backgrounds.

| Starship Entertainment

Following Allen’s remark, fans went on to explain the issue with Allen’s line of thinking. Over the years, many companies and Korean stars have been seen cherry-picking hairstyles, costumes, and more from marginalized communities for use in their music videos. Examples include idols wearing box braids and other Black hairstyles, traditional native American headdresses, Indian bindis, and more.

Jay Park recently addressed concerns of cultural appropriation in “DNA Remix” | H1GHER MUSIC/YouTube

Alongside failing to give credit to the original cultures, fans have long stated that this type of appropriation creates and enforces stereotypes about ethnic minorities and contributes to an overall culture of oppression. On top of this, the issue becomes worse when some idols go on to use offensive or racist terms and engage in harmful caricatures like blackface.

Predebut group YOURS is one of the few K-Pop acts openly educating its members on cultural appropriation. | YOURS/YouTube

All in all, cultural appropriation has long been a point of contention for numerous K-Pop stans from non-White backgrounds. As such, many were disappointed and offended by Allen’s comment, which appeared to dismiss the issue of appropriation as nothing but appreciation.

In April, Victory Company apologized for using cultural attire like this African dashiki as a costume for NTX. | @NTX_Victory/Twitter

Now, in a recent private message on Universe, Allen has apologized for his remark and shed some light on where he was coming from. First off, Allen apologized to all fans (both of CRAVITY and beyond) who may have been offended by his interview answer. Allen went on to say that he now realizes his response was “narrow-minded” and ignorant of how appropriation has harmed others.

| Starship Entertainment

Thanks to many LUVITYs, I came to realize that my response to the question, ‘What does K-Pop mean to you?’ was narrow-minded and came out of ignorance to the fact that many have been hurt by such a topic.

— Allen

Allen then explained that he never intended to undermine fans who have been hurt by cultural appropriation. Instead, he says the comment was unwittingly made to support his thoughts about K-Pop as an inclusive global community for artists and fans.

| Starship Entertainment

I by no means had ill intent to undermine those who might have already been hurt… I merely wanted to highlight the claim that K-Pop is an inclusive community.

— Allen

Ultimately, Allen once again apologized to anyone hurt by his “ignorance” and promised to never make such statements again. Naturally, fans are divided on his response. While some feel his words can’t be excused, especially given his international background, others commended Allen’s speedy and personal response to the concerns, avoiding relying on Starship Entertainment to apologize for him.

Read Allen’s apology in full here:

Hi, this is Allen and I’m here to relate my apologies to all LUVITY and K-Pop fans who might have felt offended and hurt in regards to a recent interview where I talked about the appropriation/appreciation of other cultures in K-Pop.

Thanks to many LUVITYs, I came to realize that my response to the question, ‘What does K-Pop mean to you?’ was narrow-minded and came out of ignorance to the fact that many have been hurt by such a topic.

I by no means had ill intent to undermine those who might have already been hurt due to cultural appropriation in K-Pop when I expressed my thoughts.

I merely wanted to highlight the claim that K-Pop is an inclusive community with a huge impact on a global scale.

Once again, I am very sorry to those who might have been hurt by my ignorance and I will make sure that such statements shall not be uttered again. Thank you for your understanding. Much love.

— Allen

Source: BuzzFeed News