Monday, July 23, 2012

Is Racism Rife Among K-Pop Fans? The Sweet Cake Saga

This was originally going to be a simple post introducing Sweet Cake. They are an adorable new girlband from Indonesia and already have a cute tune called "Cinta Yang Indah" under their belt. But during my search for more information on these powerhouse vocalists/all-around entertainers, I stumbled across a familiar phenomenon - an outpouring of hate and racist remarks from irate K-Pop fans. Sadly, it's not an isolated event. I noticed exactly the same thing when I researched Filipino girlband The Pop Girls and see similar comments every time I check out a Chinese act on YouTube. What's going on?

I understand some of the frustration with Sweet Cake. Their extremely low-budget video borrows heavily from Orange Caramel's "After School". But that clip was hardly original. Gwen Stefani already went down the Alice In Wonderland route a decade earlier and every second K-Pop diva steals shamelessly from Beyoncé's iconic visuals. Can't Orange Caramel fans just see the video as a tribute? I don't know much about the music scene in Indonesia but I'm guessing it's fairly rudimentary in comparison to the well-oiled Korean machine. Would it be so hard to encourage Sweet Cake instead of tearing them down? It's time for K-Pop fans to take a seat. That nation doesn't own the copyright on Asian pop music.

Anyway, back to Sweet Cake. I have no idea what "Cinta Yang Indah" is about or what the title even means - I'm hoping someone will enlighten me - but it's a perky pop song with a catchy chorus. And those qualities are international. As for the band, I can't find any information on them apart from the fact that the line-up appears to change every five minutes. I'm pretty sure they started off as a three-piece before expanding. The video (below) is not great but they are so endearing, it's hard to resist. Sweet Cake can't quite match it with flawless divas like 4Minute just yet but there is room for them in the weird and wonderful world of pop. Make them feel welcome.


Martin said...

Wow, that's savage! I don't think I've seen that many youtube dislikes since the time I uploaded my Dina Lohan - Tribute to an Orange Goddess montage video.. These bitches are hardly good, but christ, they're still better than Missy Higgins.

Anonymous said...

Hi !
I'm totally agree that these comments are really too harsh.
But is it really racism??
Because, as far as I know, Kpop acts themselves receives the same "welcome" : For giving just one example, not long ago Taetiseo were also bashed when they released their teaser picture for copying Orange caramel (this time just because the concept was full of color and a 3-members subunit)

Tiffany Taeyeon said...

Really with this post? -_-

K-Pop does own the copyright to Asian pop music in this case, and many others.

The band's name, the composition of the song, and the entire image of the group is total plagiarism from Orange Caramel. It's completely illegal. And this happens all the time now. Artists from Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan etc all copy K-Pop hits to the point of literally recreating them on every single level, minus the talent or budget.

Not that I take any of it seriously. It's hilarious, but you made this whole serious post about racism and whatnot which is absurd. If somebody completely ripped off one of your faves, from the song, to the image, to the name, you'd leave shady comments to. You've dragged Lady GaGa for ripping off Madonna, and GaGa's rip-offs were nowhere near the level of the plagiarism of Sweet Cake.

How stupid to make an entire post labeling K-Pop fans racist and whatnot.

I thought this post was going to be about laughing at how cheap and hilarious the Sweet Song and video are, like with the people walking around in the background and whatnot... Instead it was some weird and completely misguided rant about racism.

Alison said...

I agree with what Tiffany Taeyeon said. She is pretty much spot on.

This post started ridiculously. Were you for real with this?? How can you convert a plagiarism case into racism? Gurl you're a mess and it says a lot abour you.
If it was your fave Bey you would make 2084830 posts ranting about how someone copied your fave. But I guess no one cares enough to copy your fave since she's not original anyway.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Fuck offl! Your serious this is a real song and not some old comedy skit filmed for 'The Wedge" or something?

Maria said...

everyone knows that kpop fans are racist against anyone not from korea they say really awful thing and unfair!

Mike said...

Jacques, if you're going to leave a comment - you should do it under your own name. Really. This was a post about a serious issue. Sorry if you just wanted me to rag on a quartet of flawless Indonesian beauties for having the nerve to make "K-Pop style" song/video.

There's nothing illegal about Sweet Cake's video. Have you seen Ami Suzuki's Don't Stop The Disco - it's exactly the same as Kylie's In My Arms. There's no copyright on using similar costumes and set up. I've seen Korean acts steal a lot more than tacky Alice In Wonderland costumes from Western acts.

And Sweet Cake is just one example. Every time a non-Korean act tries their luck, K-Pop fans lose their shit and make horrible remarks calling them thieves, sluts and making disgusting remarks about their appearance. It's a real issue that other, non-deluded K-Pop fans have admitted to on Twitter. You should be ashamed.

RobB said...

OK, first things first: the title means «Beautiful Love» (litt: Love That (is) Beautiful).

Second: people who can't take it that most of them Asian girl- and boygroups are so much alike, chill down! K-Pop itself is one of THE music genres which relies havy on music from accros the globe. Mina covered Tarkan's «Şımarık» into «Kiss Kiss» (just like Holly Valance, btw), and the latest album of Ie Yo-Lie (Lee Hyori) was taken out of circulation because almost EVERY song on that record had issues with copyright protected material!

It's just like the eastern part of the Mediterranean: countries like Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Arab countries and the western Balkans are all covering each other's songs as if there is no tomorrow.

So just lighten up, please. :)

Gerard said...

fascinating post and comments! who knew pop trash could be so hard hitting! lmao

Anonymous said...

of course they are, not all but a disturbingly large amount are.

do we really need to get into other things like beast member kikwang's blackface...their hoards of fans were quick to dismiss it/attempt to prevent it from being seen.


Mike said...

What did Kikwang do?!

Jas said...

Great post. Apparently, Tiffany Taeyon (not the real name I assume since those are names of Kpop stars from SNSD) does not get the whole point.

I agree with you, Kpop does NOT own these concepts. It's not like they're original, but more of they are derivations from western concepts. So it is HYPOCRITICAL of K-pop hardcore fans to be bashing other Asians groups.

The music scene in Indonesia and the Philippines has long been dominated by rock/alternative and ballads, so it is understandable that these countries are catching up in terms of pop music. (These countries by the way have GREAT rock and ballad music -- nice melodies and great lyrics, you can check out Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Sponge Cola, Peterpan, Urbandub, Shiela on 7)

Also some K-pop stars have been panned for racism as well, especially "blackface". It seems that the Kpop industry take what the West does on face value, whether it's satire or not. It's like they just do copy paste and when Asians try to emulate Kpop, all hell breaks lose

From what I have seen, Kpop rabid fans have this "superiority complex". Not only do they bash Asians looking up to/emulating Kpop, but rather they also think Kpop is "better" and "more original" than Western music in general(they forget how diverse Western music is and not limited to Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber)

Also, Kpop is plagued with plagiagiarism. One of the biggest is Lee Hyori's H-Bomb. The whole album was plagiarized. THere was also the issue of YNot and CN Blue, G-Dragon and Flo-Rida, Lee Hyori and Britney

Kpop fans should be worried about Kpop music producers plagiarizing rather than Asian countries emulating or inspired by the Kpop phenomenon because it is hypocrisy. After alk, Kpop by large is emulating Japanese pop and Western pop trends.

Jas said...

My only comment about the girls is that they should get a better producer. The melody isn't bad but the production, it seems like Karaoke, as the musical accompaniment is pushed to much to the background.