The overwhelming influence of Korean pop music is finally grabbing mainstream attention.
Billboard Music Award-winning group BTS made Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential People on the Internet” list on Monday. The K-pop group has shown once again that the genre of music, famous for its flashy dance moves, is beloved the world over and will not be stopped. BTS, which is short for Bangtan Sonyeondan ― the name loosely translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” ― recently spent 27 straight weeks at the top of Billboard’s Social 50 chart thanks to their fans.
“In 2016, the so-called BTS Army propelled ‘Wings’ to No. 26 on the Billboard 200 — the highest-ever debut for a K-pop album — and earlier this year, they helped BTS win Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards,” Time notes.
It’s an impressive rap sheet. But it didn’t come without some backlash.
After BTS became the first K-pop group to win the award, there was some racist indignation on Twitter about who exactly “these Asians” were. One person wasn’t “trying to be racist” but asked BTS to “please just go back to Korea.”
But while these users felt that BTS’ win was undeserved, most people in the industry understand that their reach is unprecedented.
“The BBMAs showed that something larger is happening with a group like BTS and is a true testament to how technology and social media has put one [of] the world’s most beloved acts on an equal, language-less playing field to let their fans around the world ultimately prove how they stack up,” Jeff Benjamin wrote for Billboard after the controversy.
Educate yourselves, haters.
In fact, let’s take a moment to learn about some more Asians on Time’s ranking of internet influencers.
Take actress Yao Chen, for example, who in 2013 became China’s first United Nations goodwill ambassador. Yao has spent the past seven years traveling to refugee camps around the world and spreading awareness of refugee issues to her millions of social media followers.
And never forget Chrissy Teigen, whose mother is from Thailand. Teigen made the list thanks to her uniquely scathing Twitter account, which for years has kept every troll, jerk and world leader on their toes.
Asians represent a huge range of cultures and backgrounds. It’s really no surprise that they are hard-hitting influencers.
So if you didn’t already know, get ready for the K-pop invasion.