Until watching Produce 101, Season 2, I had almost zero attachment to BoA. I mean, I know she’s amazing, I’ve liked a few songs, but she wasn’t what I came into Kpop on and I never really took the time to deep dive and fall in love. It’s my fault, not hers, and I know plenty of folks that have adored her for eons…Stephanie among them. But after watching the care with which she served as the Representative National Producer on the show and the way she spoke to and cared for the poor trainees, I got a little attached. And then she had a new release and I was all in.
For those that don’t know, BoA is a singer, dancer, and producer. She debuted in Korea in 2000, Japan in 2002, and the US in 2008. She released an all English album in 2009. She is the only foreign artist to have three albums sell over a million copies in Japan. She’s taken creative control of her own image and her music and has used her brains and talents to earn the title of Queen of Kpop. She is a force. I’ve heard people compare her new song, Woman, to a Beyonce release in both disparaging and complementary ways. The comparison makes sense in content, styling, and sound, but I think it should in no way be surprising or be used as an insult. These women are contemporaries doing similar things in male-dominated worlds. Is it really surprising that they came to similar concepts? Is it any surprise that they’ve both dipped their toes into girl power? Should we really be annoyed by that?
I say no. I say love them both. I say celebrate them both.
Frankly, I know very little of Beyonce’s work because I’ve chosen to focus my limited time on Korean music, but if it’s anything like BoA, I think I’m going to have to take a listen.