Revolting Against Expectations, Learning Self-Love

Groups+like+BTS%2C+BLACKPINK+and+NCT+are+huge+modern+K-pop+artists%2C+making+a+splash+with+appearances+in+America.+%28Bojeung+Leung%2FThe+Fordham+Ram%29
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Revolting Against Expectations, Learning Self-Love

Groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and NCT are huge modern K-pop artists, making a splash with appearances in America. (Bojeung Leung/The Fordham Ram)

Groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and NCT are huge modern K-pop artists, making a splash with appearances in America. (Bojeung Leung/The Fordham Ram)

Groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and NCT are huge modern K-pop artists, making a splash with appearances in America. (Bojeung Leung/The Fordham Ram)

Groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and NCT are huge modern K-pop artists, making a splash with appearances in America. (Bojeung Leung/The Fordham Ram)


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By Bojeung Leung

Whether because of time constraints or my heritage, my identity has been divided, making it almost impossible to have one unified identity. With all the chaos in the world and near-constant bad news, it’s been a lot to try to handle. At Fordham, we have made the news a lot the past few years but not for many good or happy things.

To deal with this chaos, I have worked on fostering a sense of love, community and purpose, exchanging my fear in favor of having more of a positive attitude.

I have found a sense of pride in embracing my mixed identities and seeing how others have chased after a seemingly unobtainable thing: positivity and self-love. The major elements that have been a catalyst in my transformation have been music and dance.

As we get closer to finals and I have just two brain cells left for studying, the past few weeks have been fantastic for helping me keep my mental headspace in a positive frame. As some of my favorite artists have dropped new tracks or projects, I thought it would be a great time to share the people who are not only keeping me motivated but are also inspiring me.

I’ll start with my love of K-pop. Yes, K-pop. For those who have not joined the wave that’s seeping throughout mainstream music, it’s time you did. Groups like BTS, BLACKPINK and NCT have been breaking records left and right with their newest albums and appearances in America.

But you shouldn’t start to listen to K-pop idols just because they are breaking records and dance really well. It’s their themes and music that make me and so many other fans flock to them. Looking at BTS, it has been discussing things like having the courage to face your faults and weaknesses and having the compassion to forgive yourself for them.

BTS had a massive UNICEF campaign in conjunction with its “Love Yourself” album series called: “LOVE MYSELF.” The campaign was an attempt to ensure children and teens in the world lead safe and healthy lives without fear of violence. BTS’ message since it debuted has been to, “find love in [yourself], embrace people and society in a larger sense with love.” Its new era just started with “Map of the Soul: Persona,” a mixture of funk-pop songs about happiness, love and references to Greek mythology, it’s the perfect time to start listening to the group.

The way that BTS embraces its faults and tries to grow and become better people while also bringing more love into the world has really made me try to do the same.

Another person that BTS (and my friend Ezra) has inspired me to listen to is Rina Sawayama, who in her own right is the future of pop. As a Japanese-British artist, her music is not J-pop or K-pop but rather peak Britney Spears pop music. She’s invited fans to send in video submissions speaking about their “hard to pronounce” names, talked about the pain of being closeted and has full dance choreography. Everyone should stream “Flicker” at least once during finals to find some positivity and uplift people who, in her words, are “misunderstood for who [they] truly are.” Rina is one of those artists that I wish I had more of growing up. She’s completely owning her identity and making sure that people respect it.

Speaking about respect, I must talk about Beyoncé’s “Homecoming,” which, somehow, we at The Ram have not talked about and was her groundbreaking performance at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Her project is both a Netflix musical documentary and a live album. Beyoncé pushed the vision of Afro-futurism and black excellence to millions of people. The past two weeks of seeing people that looked like me, people that despite their struggles and hardships were able to rise above and find a sense of pride, was glorious.