Last Week in K-Pop: GOT7 Sabotaged, Idols Getting Tested for COVID-19, NCT U Cultural Appropriation,

Updated: Jan 20

Last week was incredibly eventful in the K-Pop industry. The past week, there was a massive increase in coronavirus testing among idols.

It all began on December 1st when UP10TION’s Bitto and Kogyeol tested positive for COVID. Following this, authorities had to backtrack all of the groups’ steps from the previous week and alert the individuals who they came into contact with to get tested. Soon after came a massive increase in testing among the industry. The following series is all of the groups as well as idols that have been recently tested and what their results are:

  • All of the other members of UP10TION tested negative.

  • Momoland’s Nancy tested negative.

  • IZ*ONE’s Minju tested negative.

  • The three Inkigayo hosts – Monsta X Minhyuk, NCT Jaehyun, and April Naeun all tested negative.

  • The rest of NCT all tested negative.

  • Aespa tested negative.

  • Stray Kids and Day6 (Even of Day) tested negative.

  • TREASURE and AKMU tested negative.

  • Pentagon Yeo One, CNBLUE Yonghwa, SF9 Chani, and Natty tested negative.

  • STAYC, BAE173, and TEEN TOP tested negative.

  • The members of berrygood tested negative, but their manager and label head both tested positive, meaning that the members are at risk of contracting the virus.

  • WOODZ, BTOB 4U, and DRIPPIN all recently tested negative.

  • Although woo!ah! tested for coronavirus, the group’s results have not yet been formally released.

  • Everglow Yiren and Sihyeon both tested positive and are currently being quarantined separately away from the rest of the group.

  • ENHYPEN tested negative.

  • Chungha and Ex-KARA member Gyuri both tested positive.

  • TWICE, WJSN, gugudan Mina, and DIA Chaeyeon tested negative.

Currently, the idols who have tested positive are being quarantined, mandatory enlistments for some male idols are being postponed, and concerts have been cancelled.

In other news, SM Entertainment has recently found itself in hot water for marketing NCT U merchandise that appropriates Islamic culture, according to fans. NCT

zens began tweeting the hashtag #SMStopDisrespectingIslam shortly after the agency unveiled new merch items for NCT U‘s “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)”: this pin….

and this pop-up display…

Fans are taking issue with the merch’s mosque designs and the ornate cube that closely resembles The Kaaba. The Kaaba is a sacred place of worship, located in Islam’s most important mosque, the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca.

NCT U’s “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” has also been receiving backlash because the stage sets for NCT U’s music video and live performances have been criticized for resembling mosques.

During one stage, a backdrop featured text from a sacred Muslim prayer.

On Twitter, fans are expressing their frustration with SM Entertainment, demanding an apology for the “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” concept, and calling for the agency to educate themselves about cultural appropriation. Some fans are also asking others to help trend #SMStopDisrespectingIslam to help them call attention to the ongoing issue.

Another NCT subunit, NCT Dream, has also had some controversy pop up when they were recently detained in a Chilean airport.

An airport security program on A&E called “Alto! Frontera” has an episode in which the boy group is seen arriving in a Chilean airport to try and enter the country, but are stopped because they do not have the proper work permits.

However, at the end of the altercation, they manage to get the necessary documentation required to enter the country and are able to make it to their concert that they were holding the next day.

The episode in it’s original translation can be watched here.

Another big 3 entertainment company, JYP, also has some altercations with one of it’s boy groups, GOT7.

The problems began on November 23rd when GOT7 released a prelease track called “Breath”.

This was followed up by the title track “LAST PIECE” which was released alongside their album “Breath of Love: Last Piece” on November 30th.

During the preorder period for the album, it seemed to have sold out very quickly, which is strange. It is basically unheard of that an album becomes sold out before it is even released.

This event led to the idea that JYP Entertainment did not buy, order, or have enough copies of the album to even sell in the first place. This also means that the company underestimated how successful the album could have been.

Fans also point to some other cases of mistreatment that GOT7 have received. For example, the “LAST PIECE” music video did not get a proper teaser, meaning that less fans would even be able to suspect that another music video was releasing so soon after the first one. This is even more infuriating when you take into account that it was a full album that was composed by the members themselves.

There was also confusion surrounding a poster that didn’t contain any of the members in it, which was released last in the line of teasers – this type of poster would usually be seen as a teaser for the official poster to come, but for it to be released last is odd.

GOT7 did not receive a comeback showcase, while every other group under JYP had one for their recent comebacks. There was little to no promotion of the comeback on their official social media accounts, to the point where the members themselves were forced to promote the album on their own personal social media. There were also rumors for the lack of protection from sasaeng fans and that the lack of subtitles made it harder for fans to stay.

However, despite what has been going on, “LAST PIECE” has received #1 on the US iTunes Charts.

To end off this week with some brighter news, as of December 8th, it has been confirmed that former ‘I-LAND’ contestant Hanbin will perform at BIGHIT’s ‘2021 New Year’s Eve Live’.

Hanbin is the only I-LAND trainee that got his own fanmeet due to his immense popularity.

That’s all for now. See you next week for your weekly scoop of the kpop world!

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