Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard.
HyunA and her cartoon tattoos (a handful of them are actually real, though) have already broken some records, most notably matching SNSD‘s record for “Fastest Video To Reach 10 Million Views” (a title previously held in splendid isolation by “The Boys“), as reported by Soompi. In other words, all it took was a mere four days — a paltry 96 hours! — for the thirsty among us to flock to HyunA’s latest audio-visual extravaganza, like so many moths to a flame.
YouTube views aside, as pointed out by my good friend @cynthes1zer, something else about HyunA’s “Ice Cream” deserves notice. In particular, she declares in the chorus (so you can bet that it’s repeated a number of times throughout the song):
I’m like sweet ice cream, I’ll melt you
Fresh ice cream cream cream cream cream
Chocolate ice cream like my dark skin
Sweet ice cream cream cream cream cream
As @cynthes1zer noted, “no HyunA dont [sic] even try to fetishize your skin tone when you’re pale as hell“.
But this isn’t just an isolated event. Rather, her lyrics speak to a larger trend in K-pop, one that reflects a cultural bias that links darker skin with sexuality.
Take SISTAR for example, with all the articles written up on them by Korean tabloids and the attention they get for being “dark” – Hyorin and Bora in particular, the more endowed members of the group, sport tans almost all year long.
I’m interested to see what people have to say in the comments, but I will remark that these kinds of biases and the idol concepts built around them, while acceptable with Korean audiences, might be tougher for international audiences (and in particular, black and Southeast Asian fans) to accept.
Marissa Pak is a syndicated blogger who writes for McRoth’s Residence & Asian Junkie. She also posts K-pop commentary on her own website (MarissaPak.com), and you can tweet her at @MarissaPak or stalk her on Facebook. Her primary interest is making music as TESTAMENTVM on YouTube.