Before his Saturday night rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump bragged that he had about 1 million Responses. But when the arena has not yet reached its 19, 000 people, lots of people online have been quick to give K-pop fans and TikTok users at least partial credit for the low rate of participation.
Before the rally, the people on the social media platforms TikTok and Twitter encouraged people to register to attend the Trump event and not attend. A video with over 300,000 views, has called on the fans to South korea, mega group BTS, in particular, to join the campaign of trolling.
In the past month alone, the K-pop fans have used their vast social media networks to make changes. Earlier this month, K-pop fans drowned racist voice by posting images of the K-pop groups, using the anti-Black hashtags like #WhiteLivesMatter.
After the Dallas Police Department asked people on Twitter to present the video for “illegal activity from the protests,” for its IWatch Dallas app, K-pop fans flooded the app with the fancams or clips of K-pop idols — prompting the application to crash.
“Given the diversity of the ARMY (the name of BTS’ fandom) and of their often expressed a strong desire to help others, it is not surprising that the ARMY wanted to support the Black Lives Matter movement, the group said in a statement at the time.
Why the K-pop fandoms to become activists
For the uninitiated, the good causes and the K-pop might seem like an unlikely marriage.
But K-pop fans have done a good work for the community for decades, said CedarBough Saeji, an assistant professor in the Asian Languages and Cultures Indiana University, Bloomington.
In the world of K-pop music stars are known as idols, and are supposed to give an example of how to act in society. They inspire passionate fandoms, and, in the past, some idols would receive thousands of gifts a day from their fans, Saeji said.
Around two decades ago, K-pop, the groups started to ask their fans to stop sending gifts and instead give to charity, ” she said.
Since then, the K-pop fandoms in South Korea have made volunteerism and donation to charity in their idol’s name. Super Junior fans donated bags of rice to the Salvation Army, for example, while the Block B fans raised money to build a well in Cambodia, CNN affiliate SBS reported.
All this had the effect of making the idol in question as if they were contributing to society, and to portray the fans over the obsessive devotees.
“Fans of the practice of these activities not only for local charities but also as a means of promoting their stars,” Sun Jung, National University of Singapore, wrote in a 2012 research study. She noted that, while the K-pop fandoms can “create a nuisance” in line, they can also lead to new forms of social activism.
Even now, the members of BTS ARMY told not to give gifts to the pop stars, from the side from handwritten letters. The BTS concerts, there are often bins for a donation of goods to local charities, Saeji said.
And as K-pop has taken a global dimension, international fanbases have continued this spirit of donation or do a good job in their idol’s name.
In March 2018, BTS fan Erika Overton, a Brooklyn native, at the end of his 30s, has co-founded One In an ARMY, a fan, a collective of non-profit partners, to encourage the fandom to make small donations to a cause.
According to its website, the group has helped raise money to fund meals for Syrian refugees and formula for babies in Venezuela.
Last year, Overton told CNN that she saw in supporting projects aimed to help people in need as a natural extension of being a BTS fan.
“They have put a lot of effort in giving us of themselves and of their music and their sincerity … the ARMY really wants to give back in their name. “
How K-pop activism works
Although there are some groups-such as One In An ARMY, who get together for social causes, a large part of the work of the K-pop fans is not carried out through a chain of command.
The K-pop fandoms unite organic to get their idol’s name to trend on Twitter on their birthday, or stream their favorite band, the songs and the videos as many times as possible, so that they arrive at the top of the charts. The space tends to be Twitter, the fans sense to understand how to use algorithms to achieve their goals.
This is not a big leap to use the same organization process of online social issues.
“Literally, it’s just people who are in contact with people through social media,” Saeji said. “What happens naturally. ”
In the united states, the K-pop fans tend to be outward-looking and progressive, and many are people of color or members of the LGBT community, Saeji said. Given this, it is not surprising that K-pop fandoms would be to be active in the support of Black Lives Matter-or to oppose Trump.
The real takeaway from the K-pop fans ‘ recent success is not necessarily the power of the K-pop fandoms, but the power of young people, said Saeji.
“The youth of today know how to organize online,” she said. “They have political opinions and that they are interested in politics and the policies of change. “
CNN Alicia Lee and Donie O’sullivan contributed to this report.