[NEWS] When GOT7 Members Party Too Hard (BamBam and Yugyeom controversy)

By now, as fast as news travels with the internet and social media (specifically Snapchat in this case), most have heard about the controversy GOT7, specifically Yugyeom and BamBam has gotten themselves into. There’s a lot of white knighting of the ultimate defense of “oppa didn’t mean it” while people (mostly international fans) are outraged. And quite honestly, they have the right to be upset.

Here’s the small breakdown.

GOT7 recently finished their Fly Tour in the US and were at a party at Mark’s parents’ home.  Alcohol was present and consumed by minors by US standards and the n-word was said. As it’s been said and the claims are easily found on Twitter, Mark’s friends aren’t the greatest of influences thus this sort of situation came about because the occurrence of what happened at the party found its way online.

We can break down the easiest and least controversial problem first.

Yugyeom was seen bearing a red face which some call the “Asian flush” when it comes to drinking alcohol. This is a problem but is not that huge of an issue.

  1. They were consuming in a private place, but the events were made public.
  2. He might not be underage in Korea to consume alcohol, but is underage in the United States where the legal drinking age is 21.

With point one and considering the group is famous, none of the contents of what happened at the party should not have been made public. The tour was over and this was a part of their private, not public life. That should have been the ground rule before the party started.

The bigger issue comes with point two. Even though they might have been under adult supervision, it’s the parents’ property and minor consumed drinks. They could rightfully be fined and/or charged with serving alcohol to minors. So now only will the idols get in trouble, but the parents could be as well.

But the part of this event that gained the most steam is BamBam saying the n-word and it was captured on video. This is what we know about this:

  • Mark’s friends more than likely purposely ill informed BamBam by telling him the n word means “brother”.
    • While they’re technically not wrong, it’s only in the African American culture where it’s acceptable to call someone the n word and it does not bear the same weight.
      • What I find wrong with this is that they, as US citizens know this is wrong and if they have African American friends, those friends would not allow them to call them by the n-word under any conditions.
    • In that same light, they probably told him this because he didn’t know (he doesn’t know English that well and just enough to interact with English speaking fans) and when someone doesn’t know a language, the first word someone tends to teach someone else is a curse or something derogatory.

Even so, this doesn’t excuse this from happening. But the issue is that when a person tries to assimilate something they like, they do not tend to look at the history behind it. And it doesn’t help that American music especially in the hip-hop realm, is littered with this word and might come off as a “friendly” term to someone who is unaware of the history of this word and why it has an exclusive meaning in one situation and a negative meaning in another.

Another aspect that doesn’t excuse his behavior is that idols have continually gotten in trouble for saying the n-word. This year, controversy lit up around some of Seventeen’s members supposedly saying something close to what sounded like the n-word on camera and more recently, Lee Hi. Although in Lee Hi’s case, she realized what she had said and immediately caught herself after the fact. (For more clarification, she was singing a song that contained the word, but even still, if you know the lyrics, skipping it was definitely possible.)

So while we can say “oppa didn’t mean it because he didn’t know,” the problem needs to be fixed because otherwise, it will continue to occur.

Now that Kpop is an international “thing” so to speak, someone needs to educate idols/starts/actors/etc. what is acceptable and what is not within a culture. This sort of happened with B1A4 which caused them to be banned from Malaysia.

Sure, we can say BamBam didn’t mean it because he didn’t know. And yes, I truly do believe he did not know. But that doesn’t excuse him from the lack of education in this day and age. Anyone should educate themselves when entering a country and culture not their own. There’s the internet, news, and even fellow artists in the industry or you can even look to his member from the US for this information, ie. Mark. Personally, if I invited someone somewhere where they might not know cultural aspects or differences, I inform them.

I definitely find fault in BamBam. I also fault JYPE for the lack of education. This is something that could have been avoided in this day and age, especially with idols continually getting flack for speaking without meaning.

While the K-pop world is in outrage over the situation, one person who has spoke out, who shouldn’t have been involved is BamBam’s sister. I feel like her response to the situation was very professional and what we should have heard from someone at this point. It’s important to note that while BamBam might not have known the implications of what he said, it’s important to educate him and tell him how and why it’s wrong. People make mistakes (and yes this could have been avoided), but instead of getting up in arms with pitchforks and flames, start with being civil. It’s the same feeling I had when the skin controversy happened with BTS. Education is very important.

At this time, I do believe his sister has spoke with him because he did apologize. Granted, it was in the comments of one of his most recent Instagram posts and not made as a new post, but there was an apology nonetheless. My personal thoughts is that he wanted to apologize, but might have been told to stay off social media until further notice. This is why the apology might have been made as a comment and not as a post. Especially on Instagram where the comments are quick, it could easily get lost, but then no one cannot say that he did not apologize.

This is the only thing we’ve heard, as there has been no word from JYPE about the situation. I’m interested in knowing his thoughts on the situation and what will be done to prevent it in the future. Kpop is a worldwide avenue and there need to be steps and procedures in place to make sure idols do not unintentionally offend another culture when visiting a land outside of their own.

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One thought on “[NEWS] When GOT7 Members Party Too Hard (BamBam and Yugyeom controversy)

  1. Pingback: Week in Review, 7/9 to 7/15 | seoulbeats

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