Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Unnie's Wednesday Write Up: The Flip Side of the KPop Sparkle

While perusing various ideas for this week's WWU I decided to once again poll friends & readers to see if any of them could help me unblock the writer's block.  Just some topic that would spark an interest in my brain & get it moving again.  Thank you peeps for the many creative ideas that now reside on my iPad for future use.  Then I saw an article that a friend posted on FB, that detailed the recent mistreatment of one of my favorite KPop stars, Kim Junsu (Xiah) of JYJ.  What he had to endure at the hands of one of the top entertainment companies in Seoul, is deplorable.  Now to be honest this is not the first time this company or one of its underlings has snubbed our lovely Junsu or the rest of the guys from JYJ.  Oh no.  It's just another example of the blacklisting & bullying our boys have had to endure in the last 3 years.

Pardon me AddiKts as I take a brief departure from our usually light hearted topics & delve a little deeper into a subject that I feel very strongly about.  I hope that you stick through this post & hear my plea at the end. I am one of those people that have never been able  to sit idly by & allow people to be bullied.  No I have always done by my best to stand up for those I see being treated unfairly, unjustly or with cruelty.  Will my little post make a difference I highly doubt it but at least I went down fighting the only way I could.

Let's get back to my topic this week....
Now most of you already know of the details as to why JYJ has been blacklisted (IE Banned) by the beasts of the South Korean Entertainment industry, aka SMEntertainment & SBS, but there are a few of you that are unaware of the details, so for you I will give a few background details...

In 2004 a new group called, DBSK entered into the world of K Pop.  The group included 5 incredibly talented young men.  Including the 3 men who would later go on to form JYJ.  What happened?  Well the boys, who were all signed by SMEnt, as TEENAGERS, entered into a grossly unfair contract.  A contract that would then give the bulk of their earnings back to the conglomerate SME, something that SMEnt is well known for doing. Taking advantage of the talent it signs at incredibly young ages.  Thereby leaving their talent, {{with all their hours & hours w/ very little sleep or down time because they are too busy; training, touring, promoting, singing, dancing, entertaining, as if they were slaves w/ very little to show for their hard work, sincere effort, sweat & tears}} out in the cold, contract wise.  Figuring out that this contract was grossly unfair, 3 of the 5 members of DBSK, 5 years later, decided that they would try to renegotiate their contract, all to no avail.  Here is where it gets tricky.  What happened to the other 2 men?  No one really knows.  No one knows for sure if it was all 5 men wanted out of the contract & the other two changed their minds, or if the other 2 were pressured to change their minds or if they were never a part of the break away to begin with.  Only those parties on the inside would know those details of the break up, and so far no one is talking.  The other 2 men, also incredibly talented stayed w/ SME & continued to be DBSK.  Meanwhile Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun & Kim Junsu decided to take their case to the courts.  And they won.  Their contract was declared invalid by the court.

Once the court declared the contract invalid,  they thought they were free of the SME snare.  However, they have found themselves in quite the opposite of that original belief....this story is far from over.  Appeals were filed, of course.  Years of dragging this & the guys through the court systems.  Hearing after hearing all with no clear answer or ruling.  During all this court drama, allegedly SM began what amounts to nothing more than coercion, bribery, blatant blackmail, strong arming, & threatening.  Proving they are nothing more than playground bullies, who then "encouraged" the entire student body to blacklist the students, in this case JYJ.

Even though the men of JYJ won in court, SM once again, Allegedly - stepped in to interfere by ensuring that their contract w/ a Japanese based entertainment/production company, that was helping them to become JYJ,  would be stalled.  They have had numerous other troubles as well... everything from having a hard time getting passport clearances that would then enable them to promote their new album, to not being allowed to perform their songs on the stages of Inkigayo.  No wonderfully fun & zany appearances on variety shows, & certainly no interviews scheduled to help promote themselves.  Imagine being blacklisted & banned by your own countrymen?!?!   Now Allegedly - SME has managed to not just influence the South Korean entertainment companies to keep the men of JYJ off their stages but they have also somehow managed to allegedly attain control of the courts.  As once again the court's final decision has been delayed...this time...indefinitely.  When will this nightmare for our beautiful JYJ end?  Who knows.

Now what prompted my tirade against SM?  Well this week, Kim (Xiah) Junsu was invited to perform at the 32nd National PARA Games Opening Ceremony, hosted by none other than SBS.  A concert that was promoted w/ his name in full use for the event, drawing in thousands of fans.  He was scheduled to be the last performer of the evening.  However, just before the group ZE:A went on, Allegedly - SBS introduced them as the last performance of the evening.  And when ZE:A was done, the cameras were turned off & packed away.  At this point the MC for the night came back on stage & announced to the waiting & probably confused audience that Junsu was the actual last performance of the evening.  Remember by this point the cameras were packed, the show was no longer being filmed or airing on TV.  Did this blatant & disgusting show of blacklisting stop our Junsu?  No.  He went on stage w/ his beautiful smile showing the audience & the world that he was not going to be pushed under or aside by anyone.  By all accounts, he performed his songs full of energy & happiness, telling the audience he was "grateful to be invited to such a wonderful event" & then going on to say that this was his "first official gig as a solo artist and he was so happy to be there." 

Now there is a classy, graceful, intelligent, caring & inspiring man if ever there was one.  Our Junsu ever the dignified & gracious gentleman.  I was so proud of him!  What an example of grace under fire.  I applaud his humanity.  Thank you for your heart Junsu.  It's one of the reasons you are so loved by so many adoring fans.  

While my heart breaks for this amazing man, my insides seethe w/ anger at the injustice & cruelty of SBS & SME & the other cowardly companies who refuse to stand up to SM.  While the South Korean entertainment industry are patting themselves on the back for garnering attention around the world for the success of Psy's Gangnam Style, they are at the same time trying to push down one of the most talented & creative men/groups around, just because he & his fellow JYJ members had the audacity to stand up for themselves & ask for fair treatment & to be properly compensated for their grueling schedules.  THIS is the prime example of the "Flip Side of the KPop Sparkle".   Does this mean South Korea or all of the entertainment world found within are corrupt?  Of course not, what a ridiculous conclusion to jump to.  These few men that seem to hold the most power & influence seem to be the main reason things are bad for artists.  Remember what they say, "With absolute power, comes absolute corruption".  I think these conglomerates have way too much money & avarice & are as corrupt as they can be, which has gone to their heads & they have forgotten how to be decent human beings.  

The South Korean entertainment industry is known for its hard, tightly packed schedules for its talent.  Schedules that go all night long, filming schedules, concerts after concerts, promotional tours, endorsement deals, interviews.  Very little sleep, improperly balanced diets & it leaves our favorite K Idols exposed & vulnerable to car accidents, health issues, exhaustion, & I imagine is responsible for a big portion for the depression & suicide problems facing SK artists.  For a prime example of exhaustion leading to accidents, there was the huge car accident that nearly killed 3 members of the sensational group Super Junior, several years ago.  Which btw also happen to be a K Pop group under SMEnt.  There are no unions in South Korea & these companies work these men & women to the bone.  

I have not heard of this kind of malfeasance since McCarthyism took root in Southern California in the 50s & destroyed the careers & lives of anybody who stood up for themselves in the entertainment industry.  Today this would never fly in the US, where the talent gets final say in their contracts & their schedules.  Maybe you'd say US stars are spoiled & pampered too much, & I would wholeheartedly agree.  And I believe there are few to none of our US stars, that have 1/10 the same work ethic that our favorite K Idols have.  Do I still love K Pop & K Drama & South Korea?  Oh heck yeah!  But these things need to be changed.  These artists are human beings & they deserve to be treated fairly & paid fairly for the amount of work they put in.  They need to be protected from the greed & corruption they are forced to tolerate day in & day out. 

To that end I have a message for these corporations pushing out pop idols like automatons on a conveyor belt & pushing the talent to the breaking point.  Just so you know SME, & your dirty partners in crime, you know who you are btw, you can pat yourselves on the back for all the awesome attention that the KPop phenom is garnering.  But this means that the world is noticing you as well, which means the world is going to notice the dirty details soon enough.  You can only hide it for so long.  Then the whole thing will burst open & all your shady "under the table" dealings will be shown in the light of day.  

I will do my best to help expose you for the slime bags you really are, you might be saying who cares what a stay at home mom in the US thinks of all of this?  And you are probably right.  I am just a stay at home mom.  I live in the safety & comfort of my upper middle class white suburban neighborhood.  In the middle of nowhere Wisconsin.  I am little and yes I admit, to you, I am even insignificant.  But haven't you ever noticed how the little guy always wins in the end?  And eventually all of us little guys & girls will amount to one great big voice & we won't be silenced so easily.   Then like Daniel in the Lion's Den we'll prove that you, the evil in this story, cannot win.  Bullies never win.  Someday someone or something is going to stop you & justice will prevail.  Until that day I will continue to cheer on all of the JYJ members.  I will cheer for their hard earned success & I will cry at their conquests.  They say that it isn't surviving the trial that shows who you are, but surviving the trial w/ grace & dignity & a smile on your face.  So far I think JYJ is the winner.  All you are doing is proving you are too ignorant to see you are showing your true colors to the world by your treatment of these amazing men.    

The saddest part of the whole thing is that all of us who were not able to be there in the beginning of DBSK & witness them as the powerhouse they were.  Oh we have their YouTube MVs & fancams of their concerts etc... but if you have ever gone back & listened to their albums or seen their performances it is very obvious that this was THE group.  I am so sad that I will probably never get to see all 5 men together on stage or in a new MV.  I weep at the loss of friendship between the JYJ guys & Yunho & Changmin, the other 2 men of DBSK.  I can't imagine the heart break that JYJ has had to endure through their trials w/ their bullies.  How terrifying it must be to think your own countrymen have ill will & grudges against you.  The trials of dealing with all of this must be exhausting.  Emotionally, mentally & yes even physically.  To feel as though you are constantly having to fight so hard just to make small gains in your career.  Jaejoong, Yoochun, & Junsu we are on your side.  We pray for you.  We weep alongside you.  We support & encourage you to keep following your dreams & never let the bully win.  

Keep your friendship strong & continue to give us beautiful happy pictures of your sweet bromance...
My favorite JYJ picture.  They are so sweet & cuddly here.  
I leave you AddiKts with this plea to please, of ALL the posts you read on TCA, that THIS one you share.  Like it, Google + it, Pin & re-pin when you see the pin on Pinterest, help spread the word.  SME & SBS & their dirty dealings need to be exposed.  Do I really think TCA can make a difference?  No, not really.  We are small & insignificant.  But all of our voices combined can make a difference.  Even if its just to help the men of JYJ see that they are not alone, we are all rooting for them & love them.  Sometimes that is all that is needed.  They need to see our hearts.  Another way you can help is by signing this Twitition to try & get SBS to apologize to JYJ.  It may not actually happen but anyway we can get the word out helps.  

Until next week....


P.S. All of my sources for this Ahjumma Article can be found at the following links.
American K Pop Fans
Asia Sentinel

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