The Freedom to Love May Be Basic, But For K-Pop Stars It Could Get You Fired
On 13th September, Korean entertainment agency Cube announced that they have officially kicked out solo artist HyunA and boy group Pentagon’s E’Dawn from the label. The reason is that the trust between the company and the artists have been broken. Back in 2nd August, HyunA and E’Dawn officially admitted that they have been dating each other for 2 years, right after Cube denied their relationship.
Love relationships are a controversial issue in K-pop, unlike in the western music industry. There have been speculations that K-pop is run by selling an artist as a ‘product’, so the fantasy of them ‘belonging’ to only their fans is important. K-pop fans solely believe that their idol is their spiritual vitamin, who cheers them up in their daily lives and gives them energy. When EXO member Chanyeol had.a kissing scene with another female in a movie, fans were genuinely upset everywhere. Even in interviews, if the host asks any questions about love relationships, some fans will be very discontented.
In order to maintain fan loyalty, especially with those who are newly debuted where the fanbase is yet to be stable, different companies have different policies. For instance, TWICE from JYP Entertainment have a 3-year ban from any love relationship. BLACKPINK from YG Entertainment revealed in an interview that the first day they went to the company, YG already asked them why they have rings on their fingers.
But there are a few strong ones, who are lucky enough to love freely. Suzy from JYP Entertainment, who gained the title of National First Love, dated Lee Min Ho, and not only was it accepted by the fans, it also got the blessing from JYP. (Though they eventually broke up.) But when Suzy admitted the relationship, she was more of an actress than an idol at the moment.
In another case, TaeYeon from Girls’ Generation fell in love with Baekhyun from EXO. Although the company SM Entertainment didn’t take any action on that, the pressure from fans was already enough to split them up.
That is the tragic situation of K-pop idols, HyunA and E’Dawn being let go was unexpected, but not a surprise for the K-pop market. Fans are speculating that HyunA still has a chance to keep her feet on the ground for her career as her fanbase is stable already, but the career of E’Dawn as a newly-debuted artist may be difficult.