PETALING JAYA, June 17 — Korean-American rapper Jay Park is in hot water once again after being accused of appropriating African American culture in his cover of Kendrick Lamar’s 2017 single DNA.
DNA Remix, which was released on June 14 under Park’s label H1ghr Music, features Park and other Korean artists rapping about being proud of their heritage.
However, the lyrics failed to match up with the musicians’ appearances in the music video as many of them sported hairstyles tied to African American culture, including afros, braids, and dreadlocks.
Twitter user @ezicale_tattoo said it was “ironic” that a group of rappers could make a song about Korean pride while “simultaneously doing (cultural appropriation).”
Another user named @CallMeGizzzy compared the DNA Remix video to “cosplaying as Black American people.”
Park responded to the backlash by posting a lengthy defence in the YouTube comments of the DNA Remix video.
He acknowledged that “Black and Latino people created hip-hop” but denied accusations that he and the other rappers were trying to “steal culture.”
“We don’t see colour. We feel like we’re brothers and sisters in hip-hop which I feel like is a universal language (that) goes beyond race, colour, and religion.
“Do we want to be Black? No.
"Although we (have) friends of colour and are influenced by Black culture and love and support it heavily, we are proud to be Korean and wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Park.
He wrote that while he may not agree with Korean rappers having dreadlocks, he doesn't feel the need to call them out for it.
The 34-year-old also compared dreadlocks to K-pop stars having dyed hair, a statement that has sparked even further outrage on Twitter.
“Do I think it's ok for Korean rappers to have dreads? I might not necessarily agree with it but who am I to say don't do that.
“If y'all can fangirl over young Korean dudes with dyed hair I don't see why we can't fanboy over rappers with face (tattoos) and dreads,” wrote Park.
Park also noted that his public relations manager had told him not to post the DNA Remix music video but he decided to go against her advice because he “didn’t want to hide Korean hip-hop culture.”
The DNA Remix music video has since been set to private on YouTube.
Park previously provoked anger amongst Muslims online after he compared himself to Allah in the song Mukkbang (Remix).
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