It’s only been a day since newly debuted girl group XUM released their first music video, but the group is already facing a serious controversy. K-Pop fans across social media are calling for answers after a video of the members making racially insensitive comments towards Filipino, African, andNative American heritage resurfaced.
Back in August, K-Pop agency A100 Entertainment announced that their girl group, NeonPunch, would be disbanding just two years after debut. According to the company’s statement, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from managing NeonPunch’s future activities.
Luckily for the group’s fans, however, A100 Entertainment announced that three of the group’s members—Dayeon, Baekah, and Iaan—would be re-debuting under the name XUM. While COVID-19 testing pushed back XUM’s initial debut date, the group finally released their first music video (“DDALALA”) yesterday.
However, just one day later, a video of the members making racially insensitive comments has resurfaced online. Uploaded in May 2020, when the XUM members were still part of NeonPunch, the since-deleted YouTube video showed Dayeon, Baekah, and Iaan taking a DNA test designed to reveal the ethnicities in their heritage.
Before taking the test, the members gave their predictions for each other’s heritages. First, Baekah suggested that Iaan may have Filipino heritage in her bloodline. However, Iaan quickly seemed to correct her, saying “Vietnam” before laughing.
Many K-Pop fans took Iaan’s response as an example of colorism and prejudice against the Philippines, insinuating that she sees something wrong with being part Filipino.
Next, Dayeon said she thinks Iaan has DNA from Ghana, a country in West Africa. Immediately upon hearing Dayeon’s comment, Iaan began acting embarrassed, laughing, and making a “no” symbol with her hands.
The subtitles then describe Iaan as “the girl between two exceptionally white members“. However, many fans have noted that there’s little discernible difference between the members’ skin tones.
In a separate scene, Baekah said she believes she has African heritage, to which Dayeon agreed. However, her reasoning immediately offended numerous viewers—”because Baekah has a really loud voice“.
A white-skinned Baekah from Africa?
— [from the video’s English subtitles]
Again, the members began laughing, to which Baekah responded, “Do you feel like an Indian chief?“. Native Americans are often referred to as “Indians” in Korean society.
After watching the resurfaced video, numerous K-Pop fans were outraged by the comments.
The members’ attitudes have been deemed mocking, rude, and racially insensitive. Many are shocked and disappointed at how uneducated XUM appear to be about other cultures.
xum just debuted yesterday and theyre already racist as hell bye
— b ❤️ ⁷ (@wonkookist) September 23, 2020
These girls need to be THOROUGHLY educated. You can't keep putting out artists out here with zero knowledge of racial issues in 2020.
— Kiki☆ ⁷ (@stunningseokie) September 23, 2020
Viewers are calling on A100 Entertainment to issue a statement of apology on the issue. Since the video made the rounds on social media, the video has been deleted from YouTube, indicating that the agency is aware of the backlash. However, they have yet to comment on the situation.
Watch the full clip from the A100 Entertainment channel for yourself here: