Kpop Group Mamamoo Apologizes for ‘Blackface’ Music Video

Kpop group Mamamoo's 'Blackface' video
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Kpop group Mamamoo's 'Blackface' video
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Kpop group Mamamoo’s ‘Blackface’ video

Here’s one way to introduce yourself to America.  Now, Kpop girl group Mamamoo is profusely apologizing for dressing up in ‘blackface’ costumes.

Kpop foursome Mamamoo is now on the defensive after filming an over-the-top ‘blackface’ video.  The video surfaced at a sold-out show in Seoul, and immediately plunged the group into a massive online controversy.

‘Blackface’ refers to the practice of white (or light-skinned) performers painting their faces black, typically while portraying black people in outlandish, stereotypical ways.  Long after its heyday in the 19th century, ‘Blackface’ is widely regarded as deeply racist and rarely seen today.

Perhaps that memo never made it to South Korea, despite the massive influence that hip-hop has played in the development of Kpop.  Either way, the group recently blasted their blackface rendition to a packed house at Seoul Olympic Stadium.  According to fan reports, the video was met with a smattering of reactions.  But Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook outrage quickly surged.

‘We were extremely ignorant of blackface…’

Several hours later, the group issued this apology on their Facebook page.

“We are extremely sorry for our insensitive actions and use of blackface in our video while portraying Bruno Mars. There is no excuse for what we did and there are not enough words to explain how regretful we are. We are heartbroken to have hurt our international K-Pop fans so deeply.

“We love and care so much for all people of every race, sexuality, religion, and gender.  And we love all our fans and are so sorry to have hurt our fans in the black community.

“We understand now why our actions were wrong and we never meant to do harm with our video. Prior to this, we were extremely ignorant of blackface and did not understand the implications of our actions.

“We will be taking time to understand more about our international fans to ensure this never happens again. We hope that you will help to educate us on these and other issues so that we can become better people and better artists.”

“Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention and allowing us to right the wrongs that we have done.”

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But wait: is everyone over-reacting?

Mamamoo’s video was actually a parody of Bruno Mars, who is mixed Puerto Rican, Jewish, and Filipino.  In the vid, the group is imitating ‘Uptown Funk,’ one of Mars’ biggest songs.

And whether it’s fair to expect twenty-something girls from South Korea to understand the concept of American ‘blackface’ is another question worth asking.  Walk the streets of Seoul, and you’ll mostly see Korean faces, with African-Americans a rare sight.  There simply isn’t that history.

Either way, there’s no denying the severely derogatory message that blackface carries stateside.  Strangely, blackface minstrels were a predominant form of entertainment in the United States during the 1800s, with viciously stereotypical lampooning a common theme.

Moving forward, Mamamoo has deleted the clip from future performances.


11 Responses

  1. Mateja

    ‘Blackface’ is only really an issue in the US. It certainly isn’t an issue if it’s done to impersonate a black celebrity.
    There is actually a TV show (Don’t know it’s English name) that makes celebrities impersonate other local and international celebrities. They do ‘blackface’ regularly. It’s very popular around the world. Here in Slovenia a singer impersonated Bruno Mars in the ‘Uptown Funk’ video and they painted his skin brown.

    • Rachel

      Blackface is not an issue only in the U.S. Do you want to know why? Well, blackface has a history in MANY countries (for example: Belgium, China, SOUTH KOREA, U.S., Canada, Australia, Puerto Rico, Finland, Europe, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, and MANY more… btw, just LOOK IT UP if you don’t believe me)
      Also, just because people paint their skin brown and no one initially sees or hears a reaction DOESN’T mean that there aren’t black people who feel disrespected or offended to see that they are a COSTUME. White people and people of fairer complexions can just wash off that paint. Black people CANNOT. And because we CANNOT, we cannot wash off the injustices that we face DAILY. Just because Bruno Mars is a celebrity DOESN’T deny him of the color of his skin, which means he is also not a costume. Dressing up like people is fine, but when you manipulate your skin tone, THAT is an issue.

  2. Shit Boy

    I don’t think they meant anything by that . Al Jolson , made a lucrative entertainment career off ‘ Black Face ‘ when colored–negro-mammy America had no leverage to pull his cracker ass off stage and stomp a real deep–chocolate mud hole in his ass ! But it’s all fair inside the game of publicity and it don’t cost much to order yourself a : ‘ Cheap Noodle ‘ costume. . .

  3. Exiled

    Are you seriously suggesting that Mamamoo could use the “I didn’t know” excuse when they leech off black culture? When Hwasa already used the n-word and said she thought she was black?? Get out of here with that mess.

  4. Casualsuede

    This is a non issue when you have a racist us president doing policies that even the courts are striking down for being too extreme. TRUMP Populism=the racist state of america.

  5. Y1E

    Look I don’t care if it isn’t apart of SK’s history, ignorance excuses no one. If you make a mistake you apologise and learn from it -simple. Besides the world is getting smaller every day we have to learn to respect other cultures and people. I don’t think SKs would find a prominent American doing yellowface very appealing. Furthermore, this is not the first time something like this has happened in kpop. For an industry that is so bent on getting bigger overseas, they really need to do more research.

    • Anonymous

      okokok calm your ass down, everyone makes mistakes goddamn

  6. Done With It

    Disgusted. I’m so tired of kpop artist doing the same things over and over again and saying they didn’t know. A member of Big Bang was flamed by people when he did it. Just because your whole country might be ignorant doesn’t mean you have to be too, espically when you know you have international fans and want to travel where they are. It’s a shame because they’re pretty and have great vocals ( Im not really into their song choices though).
    Honestly though what made them think that was a good idea? Do they think it’s funny to be another race? Really curious because now it has me thinking that they’re racist. Can’t imagine how many racist jokes they were saying when they saw each other in blackface.

    • An American

      Okay, you all need to calm the fuck down for a second. First of all, they DID apologize for what they did and already removed the video. Secondly, they were imitating Bruno Mars, not making fun of black people so get your heads out of your asses and acting like every little thing someone does that deals with race is done with hostility. Unforgiving people don’t realize that they seem rude and hostile as well.

  7. Ms Clemente

    Totally unrelated just thought Jewish was a religion.