Foreigners in BIGBANG Solo Videos

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Being a BIG fan of BIGBANG (ha) I of course have watched most of the member’s solo videos. Something odd I repeatedly notice is their use of non-Asians in their videos and how they are usually objectified.

Let’s take TOP for example. In all of his solo videos, he has a white woman somewhere. But what’s interesting is how the women seem to be used more as accessories to the set rather than interactive beings.

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Even when there is some level of interaction, there still seems to be

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Even when there is some level of interaction, there still seems to be a sort of objectification seen. Here as he interacts with the woman on his lap, he makes the motion of playing her as a keyboard, which turns her more into an object than an human.

Moving on to G-Dragon, in his video “One of a Kind”, there are three black children (note the use of children instead of adults). This particular video seems the most influenced by black culture, and the presence of black children seem to be to add more credibility and make the video seem more “hip”

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Interesting use of chains and a background that resembles a police lineup.

So you may say what about “Crooked” which was filled with white and black people. Then again this video was filmed in London so it would be pretty hard to not have people who are not East Asian in the video.

But then again at least these people are actually seen for a good amount of time, unlike in Taeyang’s new video “Ringa Linga”

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If you watch the video, you may not even notice these two black men since they are on screen for less than a quarter of a second. But there is a subsequent video that shows the dance performance of Ringa Linga and surprisingly enough there’s black men. Because everyone knows if you want a good dance video, you need black people because we are so naturally able to move our bodies in such a rhythmic manner.

But maybe I’m just over reading the presence of minorities in music videos. But let’s not forget a comment made by Seungri, where he mentioned that following an argument, he was glad the person was white instead of black because had the person been black, he would have been shot. The reasoning of course being that all black people carry guns and are willing to shoot anyone at a drop of a second.

Further examining portrayals of race in South Korean TV shows, there have been a number of missteps along the way that typically involve blackface. Although there was a past questionable occurrence of G-Dragon in blackface (that later turned out to be a misunderstanding of sorts), there is still the question of race portrayals in Korean media.

Comparing this to another idea, one should also examine Korean dramas. Personally I have watched many Korean dramas (and by many I mean like ten). However, the only time I have seen a black person in a drama was One Fine Day, and this character was waving around a gun and demanding money from the title character. But don’t worry, it wasn’t for his own personal gain; he was just a henchman for a gang that was headed by a white man. So to recap the only image of a black person I’ve personally seen was as a gun-waving thug who was not even in a position of power. It’s also interesting to examine why they chose to use a black male in this role instead of a white male. Does a black male present a more threatening presence?

There are also white people included in dramas, but they are usually business people. Oddly enough, they are also involved in shady activity and brought in by a Korean character (Save the Last Dance for Me, Something happened in Bali) to help bring down a major Korean organization. So there is still a sense of these people being used in a manner of sorts, whether it be to seen as a threatening or shady presence.

Also all of this is personal speculation and definitely up for discussion.

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The Princess and the Frog – Really Disney?

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So far Disney’s The Princess and the Frog stands as the only Disney movie to have a black “princess” in its lead role. Considering this fact, this movie seems to really let down the audience, especially in terms of its potential. This movie could have served as a positive model for young black girls growing up in a still largely Eurocentric country.

Disney as a company has had problems with racism, so it’s not the biggest surprise that this movie would be a disappointment. There are still issues with princesses of minority races in their movies –  there has yet to be a Hispanic princess and they have chosen to settle with a Chinese princess as a sort of catch-all Asian princess.

Moving to Princess and the Frog, my  biggest problem with this movie is the fact that for their only movie starring a black princess, they chose to portray her as an animal for most of the movie. Tiana is only seen as human towards the beginning and at the very end. What message does this send to the young black girls watching this movie? They can’t even view a princess in their likeness for an entire film.

Another fault of the movie that has been pointed out repeatedly is the absence of a Black prince. Prince Naveen has a noticeable Latin accent, straight hair, and a Brazilian voice actor. Not to mention his Disneyworld counterpart is not black.

There’s nothing wrong with interracial marriage in children’s movies (unless it’s in the case of the bastardized account of Pocahontas). But why in this case? Could it be because when Disney develops a prince, they expect their viewers to not only dream about being princesses, but to be with a prince (not in a literal hentai esque way) Did they not want little (white) girls to fantasize about being the princess to a black prince? (Although they were perfectly fine with casting a Afro-Creole man as the villain.)

This almost leads to the next problem of this movie –  the inspiration. This movie was based on  The Frog Prince,  a German tale originally created by the Brothers Grimm. Couldn’t  Disney have put in the extra effort to find a traditional African tale? Most of the other Disney tales tend to take place in the country of origin, yet this movie decides to stay in America for their black princess. Did Disney not want to venture into that territory and instead chose a cop-out with a “friendlier” African-American image?

Lastly, Tiana seems to be the only princess who doesn’t end up in a castle with her prince. Although it’s beautiful she ended up fulfilling her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant of her own. However, why is she the only princess to not have her happily ever after living as a princess? Although it is more progressive to show a woman working instead of being at the right hand of a prince, there’s also the problem of Tiana not being seen as a true princess. There’s no castle waiting for her and her (broke) prince.

In conclusion, Disney could have done a better job if they had made a movie based off an African tale starring a black couple that’s human for most of the movie.

Side note – Another interesting conflict is the use of voodoo in this movie. Looking at the villain of the movie “The Shadow Man” Doctor Facillier portrays voodoo as something evil that will lock you into unfortunate curses and for some reason practices tarot reading (a more Romani practice). Mama Odie on the other hand shows a truer side of voodoo; one as more of a form of religion. However, it’s interesting to note the use of color here. Whereas The Shadow Man was enshrouded in black and other dark colors, Mama Odie, the one seen as more kind and moral, was clothed in a white dress. Just try and guess the symbolism here.

All images are from Google. I retain no rights.