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K-Pop Artist Rises Above Korean Taboo

MRSHLL posted this image of himself with the caption, “NEVER LET ANYONE DIM YOUR LIGHT” as a way of saying that nobody can tear him down. Shortly after signing with a Korean label, he released his first EP titled “Breathe”. “If he’s a good artist then why should his sexuality affect people’s opinion on his music career?” said Shanna Francisco (12), president of the Korean Culture Club.

MRSHLL posted this image of himself with the caption, “NEVER LET ANYONE DIM YOUR LIGHT” as a way of saying that nobody can tear him down. Shortly after signing with a Korean label, he released his first EP titled “Breathe”. “If he’s a good artist then why should his sexuality affect people’s opinion on his music career?” said Shanna Francisco (12), president of the Korean Culture Club.

Alyssa Lacap, Reporter

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MRSHLL posted this image of himself with the caption, “NEVER LET ANYONE DIM YOUR LIGHT” as a way of saying that nobody can tear him down. Shortly after signing with a Korean label, he released his first EP titled “Breathe”. “If he’s a good artist then why should his sexuality affect people’s opinion on his music career?” said Shanna Francisco (12), president of the Korean Culture Club.

Being part of the LGBTQ+ community is accepted more commonly than it was before. In Korea, it’s considered a taboo so the people in this community can face legal challenges and discrimination. However, the country holds an annual event called ‘Korea Queer Culture Festival’ which is held in Seoul. Because of this, people can take pride in their sexuality.

Across from where this event is held, is a religious church. Christians at this church protest and yell slurs, along with anti-gay slogans.

In addition to calling homosexuality a sin, the religious right frequently claims that gay men weaken the military and make the nation vulnerable to North Korean attacks,” quoted Kelly Kasulis in a published article “South Korea’s 18th Queer festival starts today, but gay people still face discrimination and hate.”

“A lot of immigrant children, third-culture kids, mixed-race children, and people who are in the LGBTQ+ community, we kind of have to grow up quicker. We’re kind of forced to deal with our identity issues a lot sooner than I feel like the general public would. I feel like in doing that and simultaneously doing music it fed into each other. Which is why I feel like the music that I’m making now is so important not just to me but just to everyone in general,” stated Marshall Bang, the first openly gay artist in the K-POP industry, according to NBC News.

The Korean-American artist was born in New York and started his career there. His journey from the states to Korea was a definite culture change for him, especially with the huge difference in morals.

As predicted, coming out as gay with such a big platform caused an outrage in Korea. Many religious Koreans did not like that simply because he isn’t straight. Before coming out to the public, he, of course, came out to his family first, and his mother was and is strongly against it.

The singer’s stage name is ‘MRSHLL’ and throughout his entire career of being a singer in Korea, he’s had tons of backlash from the community. People in Korea recognize him as ‘That One Gay Artist’ instead of being recognized for his music.

In the same NBC News article, he states, “At the end of the day, people can say whatever they want about me, but they can’t touch the music.”

Though Koreans don’t have an open mind about Marshall and his sexuality, there are many people all over the world who support him.

“If he’s a good artist then why should his sexuality affect people’s opinion on his music career?” said Shanna Francisco (12), president of the Korean Culture Club.

Bang is popular internationally with a fanbase in New York. Because of this, he was still able to receive support and love despite the backlash.

 

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K-Pop Artist Rises Above Korean Taboo