On September 22nd, The Creator’s Project, a global network aimed to introduce and connect artistic individuals together, returned to Seoul to put on one of their signature technology-infused concerts. Tiger JK was selected as the Korean representative for a 3rd straight year and was invited to perform.
The event featured both Korean and non-Korean acts, thus inviting a diverse crowd to explore the multitude of talent. However, when Tiger JK stepped on stage, he was met with a group of Caucasian hecklers who repeated told him to stop rapping and instead dance the now internationally known horse dance from Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” JK took offense to the comments, seeing it as not only disruptive, but also racist. While JK has been openly supportive on Twitter for Psy’s success, he does not agree how some Western media has disregarded Psy’s talented, and instead have focused on his comedic dance. As some fans have pointed out, it has repercussions for Asian artists who are seeking to make their own unique mark in the Western market.
As a result of the heckler’s comments, JK stopped his performance and let out his frustration. This is his account of the incident:
“I told them [the hecklers] I ain’t here to make you laugh. I’m not here to dance for you. Then it triggered something really dark in me. My f*** you turned into f*** everybody. F*** white people. F*** CNN to F*** Hollywood. To Fu** all ya’ll who think Asians are here to make you laugh by dancing my ass off. F** Hollywood for thinking Asians are just comic relief. Then I Stopped my set and screamed for ten minutes I think. I said I got paid to be here b*tch ass white boiiz, I ain’t gon dance for you. I called all them b*tches. Then I said bi*ch bad. What I mean by b*tches I mean y’all white boys who are telling me to dance. I told them Asians are more than a motherf*cking comic relief, you punk ass white boy.”
The English speakers in the crowd were flabbergasted by his comments. However, an advocate for anti-racism himself, JK soon turned to his Twitter to personally apologize for his sudden outburst and gave his side of the story. The following is his full post:
While his actions have turned off some fans, many who have seen JK’s previous anti-racism actions have empathized and forgiven him for this one-off moment.
Though I try to keep my personal opinions out of my posts, I will end this with a personal account for those who are quick to label JK as a racist (Warning: This will be long, so grab a drink and some popcorn).
I have run this website for over 11 years. I am 100% Filipino, born and raised in a city of diversity (NYC). When I first started listening to Korean music when I was 14 years old, I was one of the few non-Koreans listening to it then. I tried to make Korean friends so I could find people who shared my musical taste. Some laughed and labeled me a wannabe. I would post in K-music forums, and was not taken seriously because I was a “fake Korean.” When I would go to festivals to see Korean singers then, I would get dirty looks. I could not speak a word of Korean then. I was in love with Drunken Tiger, then a group, and decided to fly out to Los Angeles to see them perform live. I had met a few Korean singers before, but when I met them, it was the first time I felt I was seen as a person, not just a fan. What most people don’t know is at that time, when Korean artists had non-Korean fans, most of them were Asian. DT was the first to have a large non-Asian following, but these fans usually knew little about Korea and Korean music. From that, this site was born, obviously it was larger then than it is now, and despite my race and my inability to speak Korean, DT named my site as the official English site in 2003. My race to this day has never been brought up in conversation, nor has it been an issue. I have been to countless performances, and I have seen JK show after show give pounds to his non-Korean fans in the crowd. He has treated them with the same respect he has treated me all these years. I’ve gone from his fan to his friend. I’ve met his closest friends, his family (not just Yoon MiRae), some Korean, some not. People have forgotten that one of his closest friends, Micki Eyez, who spat verses on DT2-4, is Caucasian. When comedians were using blackface on Korean TV, and when netizens criticized his wife and child for being mixed blood, he fired back on Twitter explaining the negativity attached to blackface. He criticized those who judged others based on skin color. He was one of the first to open dialogue about racism in Korea. I have sat backstage with JK and a Caucasian fan, whom he personally invited and chatted with for hours. He did this to thank her for making creative videos of him. His outburst this past week he admitted (both publicly and privately to me) was a foolish mistake. It was an impromptu response that was in no way a reflection of who he really is. He is one of the last people I would call a racist. I was not asked to write this by him, nor his label. I am writing this as a friend who wishes to see people really know him for him. There is no way everyone will forgive him, and I am not asking for it, but I hope this can balance the coin on perspectives. Please share my story with others who need to know.