BTS Are On Hiatus and We Should All Be Doing a Praise Dance!

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I had a friend send me a BBC online article telling me that BTS was on an extended hiatus. He was checking to see if I was okay with them being out of the limelight and I chuckled hard. First of all (as I have said on this blog many times), I am an unapologetic BTS fan. I knew about this break before this article was even published (the power of Twitter). Also, hearing that BTS are going to be on break fills my heart with so much joy and I will happily explain why.

This will be BTS’s first official break since when they first debuted. They debuted in 2013. That was six years ago! Can you imagine not being given an official break in six years??? Think about all the things you would have missed out on. Milestones in the lives of your friends, the freedom to go on holiday as you please or even being able to relax with your family. All those basic life luxuries go out of the window when you are not given a break from work. Most of us would riot in the streets if we were not given our contracted annual leave days.

Now, this is not to say that BTS has not had a moment’s rest in 6 years however, the ‘official’ part of the statement means that their break cannot go interrupted. That means if there is an award show (the VMAs cough cough), tv appearances or any other type of engagement, BTS is not obligated to turn up because (say it with me now) they are on holiday.

I feel like I keep having to explain to people that the Korean music industry operates very differently to the Western music industry. In the West, you can have artists like Beyoncé or Rihanna who have a 3-year gap between albums and no one except slightly disgruntled fans will complain. In those same 3 years, a South Korean group can have 4 comebacks, two solo mixtapes from certain members and have a subunit album. This is while doing variety shows, performing at multiple awards shows and mentally preparing to go to the army (if you are a man).

Some of these idols are burnt out and suffering from health conditions like Shindong from Super Junior and Kihyun from Monsta X. It should come as no surprise that BTS’s fanbase is ecstatic that the guys are going to be extending their break. If I had my way, BTS would be out of commission for a year. However, I know that with the growing popularity of the group and the looming decision of whether the guys will be going to the military or not, I know that a year break is unlikely to happen. So, I will take what I can get.

Let’s be honest, ARMY has been overfed this year. In the space of the 8 months, BTS released their new album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, went on a sold-out stadium world tour, did several tv appearances in South Korea, the USA, and the UK. They released BTS World (an app game) which came with its own soundtrack that featured songs with the group, Charli XCX, Zara Larson and Juice WRLD.

Just last week Bring the Soul: the movie came out in cinemas across the world and V gave us a surprise music video for his solo song ‘Winter Bear’. I haven’t even mentioned anything about their Muster Anniversary show or RUN BTS the variety show. The point I’m trying to make this that BTS has produced enough content to the last the fandom well over a year.

BTS deserve to eat, sleep and be merry. And if any of you see them on road, walk the other way and mind your business. They’ll be back in October.

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The Adventures of a BTS Fan: The Wembley Stadium Edition

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The Anticipation

My body was in a state of anxiety and I could not sleep. I had gone to bed at 3 a.m, woken up at 5 a.m. Why was my body in a state of emotional turmoil, because this was the day I was going to see BTS at Wembley Stadium. You could say that I had been waiting for this day February when I had to pay my youngest to get online and buy my BTS ticket because I was at work? The reality is that I had actually been waiting for a little over a year, ever since I discovered BTS.

I arrived at Wembley just before 1pm and was immediately confronted with several giant banners of BTS, the 7 men who would make me question everything I’d ever thought. The banners started at the tunnel leading out of Wembley Park underground station and ended at the stadium itself. As I took a picture of Jimin’s banner, I muttered to myself

“Girl you are not ready for this.”

Bangtan UK PreParty

The interesting thing about being a BTS fan ( also known as Army) is that, despite selling out the first date for London in 90 minutes, despite having three Billboard number one albums in less than a year (something that has not been done since the Beatles), many people still don’t know who BTS are. Many people try and berate fans for listening to a group who do not sing/rap in English. Therefore, I really appreciate Bangtan UK for organising the BTS preparty at Wembley BoxPark. It was a place where the Army was able to fellowship together, to eat together and dance to music by Korean artists. Shout out to the fans there who knew each and every piece of choreography that BTS, BlackPink, EXO, and Big Bang have ever done. They were fun to watch.

 

After making new friends, buying a lightstick (also known as an Army Bomb) and ensuring I had been to the toilet several times, I made my way to my seat. There is something truly special about Army, while we were waiting for the guys to come on stage, their music videos (MVs) were playing on the big screen. Why we were singing at the top of our lungs as if the concert had already started, I don’t know.

The Concert Begins

It was a peaceful time until a video of BTS wearing Greek robes and suits came onto the screen. I knew this meant one of two things. One, “Dionysis” would surely be the opening song. Two, I was in danger. These men were surely about to rip my soul from my body. I was having palpitations just from this opening video because in case you didn’t know, BTS are visual KINGS! Out of nowhere, two enormous silver Siberian Tigers (the official animal of South Korea) appear on the stage and “Dionysis” begins. When RM asked if we were ready to get hyped up, I screamed out

“NO!”

The Individual Members

My advice to anyone going to a BTS concert is don’t go in there thinking that you have favourite member. Abandon all ideas of a bias because the things those 7 men do on stage will have you rethinking your entire existence:

Jungkook: This boy lifted up his shirt twice times during “Fake Love” and as far as I’m concerned, he was the tamest of all the members.

Taehyung: This man is the enemy of my progress. He decided he was going to murder 60,000 people with his baritone. I was prepared for him to do the intro to “Singularity” (which is already the sexiest song on the setlist) with the coat stand. I was not prepared for him to do the intro on a bed! You are a dangerous man Kim Taehyung and you know it! Not to mention we got the return of headband Taehyung during Mic Drop. An ode to the DNA era which was Tae in Super Saiyan form.

Jimin: The duality of this man. He will make you think that he is cute and harmless, but it is a lie! He gave us the body rolls of life during “Fire” but where I lost my mind was during his solo performance of “Serendipity”. He lifted his shirt and I froze. I stopped waving my Army bomb. I just stood there with my mouth wide open until drool started dripping down my chin.

RM: As the leader of BTS I blame him for all of this and yet I would marry him if the opportunity arose. Who gave him permission to go that hard during “Silver Spoon” (Baepsae)? He attacked us. Yes, I appreciated it but who told him it was okay?

J-hope: The King of stage presence. Whoever selected that Dior Harness for him during “Outro: Tear” should be knighted! He looked like a Supreme King. You mere mortals could never with the dance captain.

Suga: I would pay my taxes to him. He is an amazing rapper and he was showing off all his lyrical skills. However, where he made me salivate was during the video montage of himself and Jin. How did I feel attacked by video footage of him simply WALKING?

Jin: There is a reason he is called Worldwide Handsome (or as the Brits now say, Worldwide PengTing). He stared at us at the of Epiphany. He simply looked at us and I was ready to dedicate my womb him.

High Voltage Energy

I could write a dissertation about why BTS are some of the most visually pleasing men I’ve ever seen in my life but that would do a disservice to this concert. BTS work so hard at their craft and they put on an incredible show. The rap line came out spitting bars, the vocal line was on job and even their background dancers did not come to play any games. This was demonstrated in their solo songs, the sub-unit stages and the songs where the 7 of them came together.The commitment they gave during performances such as “So What,” “Idol” and “Fake Love” was so infectious that we are an audience were determined to match their energy. You would have thought I was trying to audition to be a member of BTS with the way I was committed to the choreography of Mic Drop.

Not to mention, the boys are so entertaining, and their comradery is lovely to witness. They were having fun doing English accents, they acted out spells from Harry Potter using a BTS lightstick in place of a wand and watching them play on the bouncy castle during Anpanman was adorable. We engaged in doing multiple Mexican waves with our lightsticks and Jin lead the crowd in doing the classic Freddie Mercury “Ay Oh” chant.

However, the most moving part of the night was when the most moving part of the night was during the encore. Before their performance of “Mikrokosmos”, the crowd made up of 60,000 surprised the band with a singalong to the chorus of “Young Forever”. It is a very emotional song. The group was so shocked that half of the members (Jungkook, Jimin & J-Hope) cried and so did a good number of us in the crowd.

 

It was an emotional end to a perfect night.

The Adventures of a BTS Fan: The BT21 London Pop Up Shop

 

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The 28th of May was finally here. After months of begging and pleading on Instagram, the BT21 Pop Up Shop in London had arrived and if you thought I was not to going to get my merchandise, you were sadly mistaken. I would have saddled a horse into London if necessary. Now you are probably wondering why I was so hellbent on getting BT21 merchandise. I’ll break it down into three simple points. One, I am an unapologetic BTS stan. Two, the BT21 merch is adorable and it is not being sold at the upcoming concert this weekend. Three, there is no BT21 shop in the UK so its either fly to the LA or Seoul store. Now that you are familiar with the reasons for my quest, I am going to share six things that I learned from today’s adventure.

  1. Be patient and check Twitter

I arrived in Camden Market at 10:45am and I was confronted with a queue that could rival the wait time of a car accident on the M25 in rush hour. It’s okay though because scrolling through Twitter on the way to the venue had prepared me for the wait ahead of me. Originally, I had mentally prepped myself to be in line an hour, but Lucy Ford’s tweets told me that one singular hour was wishful thinking on my part. Come on, this is BTS.

Which leads me onto my next point…

2. Come prepared
Come in flat shoes. Bring a power bank to charge your phone. Go to the toilet before getting in line. Stay dehydrated. Bring an umbrella because this is England. The British weather is as reliable as Lauryn Hill turning up to a concert on time.

  1. Like it or not, you may end up being a BTS ambassador

Now I’m in this line, waiting for 2 hours to get into this one shop and there countless people staring at us. Who can blame them, there were lines of people being ushered by crowd control security. I had to explain to one passerby why we were there, who BTS was and what BT21 was. I also had to explain to BT21 store staff, BTS’s brand of music and how BT21 came into existence. Thankfully rewatching the creation of BT21 an unhealthy amount of times on Youtube had prepared me for this mission.

  1. Fan Chants

There is a time and a place for everything. I wholeheartedly stand by those wise words by King Solomon. I learned something new about myself and that is I actually cannot stand fan chants. Unless we are at a concert or BTS is performing on a specific stage such as the BBMAs or Graham Norton, I don’t want to hear it. You can imagine how irritated my soul when I could hear fans chanting the boys’ names inside the shop itself. For what?

  1. The Black Girl Alliance

The Black Girl Alliance is real and it can take place anywhere. The most common way the alliance can be formed is over hair. This happened to me when I complimented my fellow sister black & green hair. The colours blended beautifully and I had to tell her. We ended up in a conversation about hair and our distress in trying to get tickets for the BTS concert. Despite Ticketmaster being the enemy of progress, we both are going to see BTS this weekend. Also, shout out to the sister who worked in the shop, who let me try on the hoodies to see if they fit me properly. She also didn’t have a clue who BTS was but got converted in one morning, off the strength of working in the BT21 shop.

  1. There is Fellowship in the fandom

Army is an interesting and fun fandom to be a part of. I want to shout out to the girls who had the good sense to bring their Bluetooth speaker. They blasted Cypher Part 4 twice and Go Go, which had us dancing and singing along while we waited. They certainly made my time more enjoyable when I had to turn off my phone to conserve battery.

Also, the girl saw that the camera quality on my phone was inadequate, so she took pictures for me and sent them to my phone. Army fellowship is a unique experience that was not limited to age, race or gender. We were united in our appreciation of seven Korean guys who are going to shake the stands of Wembley stadium come the 1st & 2nd June 2019.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my BT21 story

The Weather Report: BTS on SNL & the Return of Game of Thrones

Since this blog is a called A Soulful Storm, I’m going to be naming my posts where I do mini updates of the week The Weather Report. I may change my mind. We’ll see how it goes.

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In case you have been living under a rock you will know that after a two-year wait, Game of Thrones has returned to our screens.  Season 8 is the last season and the masses are excited. I will not give any spoilers but boy oh boy, did episode one kick off with a bang. This episode was filled with nostalgia and jaw-dropping moments that had me yelling at my laptop no less than 5 times. I truly believe the Night King is going to sit on the Iron Throne.  Winter is definitely here, and we are in for an emotionally turbulent time.

 

 

No Pictures Please

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Our Melanated Mona and her husband The Duke of Sussex have decided to break a 4-decade long tradition. The Duchess of Sussex has chosen not to have the 7th in line to the throne at Lindo Wing. The Lindo Wing appears to be the favourite maternity ward for the Royal Family since Princess Diana gave birth to both Prince William & Prince Harry there. Kate Middleton gave birth to all three of her children there too. Some of these media outlets are really acting like Meghan has broken royal protocol with her refusal as if the Queen herself didn’t give birth at home.

Buckingham Palace announced on 11th April 2019, that Harry and Meghan are keeping plans around the baby private. Which I am more than happy about for several reasons. One, it has always made me uncomfortable how mere hours after giving birth, women in the Royal Family must dress up and present their hours old baby to a sea of paparazzi. What is if they had to have an emergency C-section? What if their labour was over 24 hours and they can barely stand? It has always seemed so unnatural to me.

Two, the media in the country has been so foul and antagonistic to Meghan all the way through her pregnancy. They don’t deserve to see her baby. So they can do what? Pick apart her child from the name to all the way the ancestors have shown up in the hair texture and skin tone of the baby. No thank you. We will see that child when Harry & Meghan are ready for us to see him/her. In fact, they should reveal the baby on their Instagram just to spite the press.

BTS performed on SNL

The new era is upon us!!! BTS released their new album, Map of the Soul Persona on 12th April 2019. The new album contains collaborations with Halsey and Ed Sheeran and I have streamed it no less than 11 times and counting.

Their first comeback stage was none other than Saturday Night Live (SNL). For some of you who may not know, SNL is considered one of the best sketch comedy show in the USA. It is the most successful, long-lasting show of its kind in 2019. It is an honour for musical guests to perform on that stage. The stage has been graced by artists such as Beyoncé, Justine Timberlake, Solange and Childish Gambino and that’s just to name a few. BTS continues to be trailer blazers as they are first Koreans to be asked to perform in the show’s history. They performed their new song with Halsey, Boy With Luv and Mic Drop Remix which you can watch below.

As you can tell I am loving the way this new era is taking off. I can’t wait BTS will do between now and their concert at Wembley Stadium in June.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the Weather Report

What Did We Learn From Surviving R Kelly?

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If you have been on the internet in the past 5 days, I’m sure you have seen that R Kelly has been a trending topic. I know that a lot of you have watched the 6-part documentary about the R&B singer. The documentary talks about how over the past 20 years, R Kelly has been sexually, physically and mentally abusing underage girls. Specifically, he has been abusing underage black girls. I watched the series and by episode 5, I was starting to have nightmares about R Kelly. The man is a monster. There were a few points that stuck out in my head from watching the documentary and I would like to address them.

  1. The beginning of the documentary talks about how R Kelly was molested by a family member between the ages of 7-12. He has talked about these events in previous interviews. However, he has never reported who the family member was because “he didn’t want to throw his family member under the bus.”

Let me say this. Just because one was abused that does not give them a pass to abuse others.  The psychologists on the documentary explained what happens to one’s brain when they have suffered sexual abuse. It’s sad and I cannot imagine the trauma. I can only say that is so important to seek help, report the incident and go to therapy.

 

  1. The part  of the documentary that had me flabbergasted was how many adults were complicit in R Kelly’s abuse of so many girls. He had his personal assistants, security and other staff members who would scout young ladies at the mall, his concerts, even outside of his trial (the infamous trial where he urinated on a 14 year-old girl, yeah that trial) and bring them to his place of residence for sex. On of his staff members was the one who forged Aaliyah’s age on the marriage certificate between her and R Kelly. Aaliyah was actually 15 and allegedly pregnant by the singer so his personal assistant wrote that she was 18. It was horrifying. It would have been different if R Kelly had acted by himself. However, this man had an entire community of people helping. I do not care that these people were on his payroll. A cheque should not be worth your soul. I do not know how these people sleep at night knowing that they have been active in ruining so many women’s lives. I wonder if they would have felt comfortable in introducing their daughters, nieces or cousins to R Kelly?

 

  1. Another despicable aspect of the documentary was how  intentionally quiet the music industry was throughout the past 20 years regarding R Kelly. Honestly, R Kelly should have been shut down after the Aaliyah incident. However, this man has been able to prosper and flourish. He continued to have radio plays, called to sing at several award shows and honoured at the Soul Train awards. This man has been allowed to work with some of the biggest names in music. From Michael & Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Jay-Z etc. The deafening silence of the industry has allowed R Kelly to become untouchable. This man has been emboldened to the point he has been calling himself “Pied Piper of R&B!” If you are unfamiliar with the fable of The Pied Piper, he was man summoned by a village that had a rat infestation. After he lured out the rats, the towns people refused to pay him. So the Pied Piper used music to lure all the children of town into caves and they were never seen again by their families. Coincidence? I think not.R Kelly has been telling us who he is for many years and we ignored him because his music was good. His pedophilic tendencies have instead become a part of pop culture. The Dave Chappelle skit and R Kelly episode of The Boondocks are just a few examples how we have all known what R Kelly was into but did not take seriously to demand change.

I do not want to talk too much on this subject because it is sickening. I will say this though. Let’s stop defending this man’s inhuman actions based on his talent. No one is denying that he is a fantastic musician. We have danced to The Remix to Ignition, cried to I Believe I Can Fly or Stepped In The Name Of Love. However, we need to open our minds up to the fact that talented people can do terrible things. Hilter was an amazing painter, that does not mean that we deny or ignore the fact that he orchestrated the Holocaust.

At this point, R Kelly does not need to be in prison, he needs to be lying UNDERNEATH the prison. His reign of terror on the bodies of black women needs to come to a swift and abrupt end. We need to believe Black women when they say they have been abused. When women get abused, they are not ‘fast,’ they did not ask for it and nothing they wore warrants someone raping or abusing them. Especially when they are minors. That is not up for debate. The culture of protecting abusers over victims need to come to an end.

Mute R Kelly already.

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BTS: Mono & Waste It On Me

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BTS have decided that they will not take their foot off the music industry’s neck. In the past two and half months, their album Love Yourself: Answer has been number one on the Billboard charts. They have been a stadium world tour (that I was unable to get tickets for but I’m not bitter) and spoken at the UN. Yet in the space of one week, RM (their leader) released his new mixtape (named Mono) and then Steve Aoki revealed that the title track for his new album featured BTS. There has not even been seven days between RM (Kim Namjoon) announcing this project and Steve Aoki dropping this new single. BTS I’m one human being. I am tired yet so grateful so let’s get into these two bodies of work.

Mono

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I adore this mixtape. I had to listen to it three times before I felt competent enough to even talk about this body of work. This project needs to be digested. The seven-track mixtape has a very alternative and Indie vibe to it. There is also a theme of loneliness, insecurities and depression that I believe a lot of people in this generation can relate to.

This mixtape is a far cry from the R&B and Hip-Hop sound that one usually associates with BTS and that is what I like most. It shows RM’s versatility. This project will have you lying on the floor in your feelings. Sonically the mixtape is good, but I believe that the lyrics are the best part. RM expresses the words that sometimes we as the audience struggle to say and has captured them so beautifully.

I also want to express my utter joy that Honne produced Seoul (which is my favourite song on the mixtape) because they are fantastic. It is always a musical pleasure when your favs get together.

I would say that if you appreciate music that usually features on A Colours Show, you will definitely like this mixtape. It is emotional and beautiful.

Waste It On Me

I have a quick public service announce to deliver as I address Waste It On Me, the new single by Steve Aoki & BTS. All of you who like to say, “why do you like their music, they’re not even singing in English.” You have the mind of a COLONISER. Take a minute and let that sink in.

A lack of English lyrics did not stop Despacito from being EVERYWHERE! We could not escape that song and believe me, I tried. A lack of English did not stop people from enjoying Gangnam Style and I am yet to witness anyone sitting down during the Macarena just because it so happens to be in Spanish. Music transcends language. It is just a fact. If the beat is right, we will dance all night.

Not everything has to be in English. It is not the only language on earth. There are many countries where English is not the main language spoken. For many of us (I speak for the African Diaspora), English is a language that was forced upon our ancestors. So, let us not mimic the language of oppressors when we say that music can only be appreciated if it is in English. If you have danced to Karolina or Alkayida, and you are not from DRC or Ghana, you have no right to demand English from Koreans

However, I acknowledge that People of Colour have to play the game in order to get a seat at the table and make changes. Therefore, I do not mind that BTS & Steve Aoki decided to Trojan Horse the biggest music market (which is the US) by doing a song in English. The beat is good, the lyrics are strong and the vocals of Jungkook & Jimin never disappoint. Waste It On Me is a good song and I am saying that as girl who does not normally appreciate EDM. It is a song that will probably feature on my gym playlist.

I keep saying that BTS are after world domination. You people better start reading the signs.

Please let me know you favourite songs are on Mono. Do you like Waste It On Me? Do you think BTS needed to sing a full song in English?

In My Feelings: How Drake Summoned the BTS Army

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Who didn’t love the days when artists would put their actor friends, athletes and other musicians in their music videos. If you’re a millennial like me (and religiously watched MTV Base), you will not convince me that you didn’t get some kind of joy watching Ludacris, Eve, and LLcoolJ in Missy Elliots’ Get Your Freak On. Chris Tucker in Michael Jackson’s You Rock My World or Kobe Bryant in Destiny’s Child’s Buga Boo video. Suddenly that type of music video disappeared and artists don’t do it as much. I guess its been replaced by posting pictures with other celebrities on instagram.

Well it seems like Drake is bringing this era of music video back and I’m here for it. In the Nice For What video, he graced our screens with the likes of Issa Rae, Letita Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jourdan Dunn and other amazing women in Hollywood. That song is good but we have to address In My Feelings. With globalisation and social media working hand in hand, the In My Feelings challenge has been an international sensation. Seriously, I don’t think anyone with access to the internet has been able to escape the phrase “Keke, do you love me?”

I bet some of you didn’t even know that there are other girls named on that song.

However, I believe that Drake’s marketing checkmate was putting J-Hope from BTS in that video.

Allow me to school you on something. BTS (who I have already stanned for on a previous post) are probably the biggest boy band in the world. Their fans (who are called Army), have power that should frighten you. BTS have music videos on YouTube that have 400/500 million views. On the 20th June 2018, they organised a streaming party with the Beyhive so both Love Yourself: Tear and Everything Is Love could reach number 1. This is a fandom that is not to be ignored. If other artists were smart, they would tap into their power. Therefore, I have no doubt that Drake was intentional about putting BTS’s lead dancer in his already popular song.

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I am going to confess right here on this blog that J-Hope is the ONLY reason I sat through all 8 minutes of that video because I didn’t do it for Drake.