(Artwork by Anya Thakur)
Liberty High School

Girl group Blackpink on changing the game

Returning after a year long hiatus developing their music and working with their production agency, YG Entertainment Inc., internationally recognized Korean girl group Blackpink is back in the game and stronger than ever.

They made their comeback with their latest music video, titled ‘뚜두뚜두 (DDU-DU DDU-DU),’ featuring core group members Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé, as part of their first mini album Square Up, which will feature an additional three songs. Breaking records in Korean female music, fans hope for the video to reach one hundred million views within the first week of its drop, making Blackpink the first Korean girl group to accomplish the feat, inspired by the momentum of boy band BTS (Blood, Sweat, and Tears), who previously achieved the same.

The video was released on June 15, and as of Aug. 6, it has reached over 256 million views, 5 million likes, and over 876,000 comments.

The sheer magnitude of what Blackpink has achieved, and the dedication and support of its fan base, known as Blinks, is monumental and has made ripples in both Korean and American media. Prompting an embrace and appreciation of Korean culture, and promoting cosmopolitan taste in music, especially that of Korea, Blackpink has made an indelible impact.

And as they are simultaneously strong and fierce but embrace their womanly beauty, the quartet channels both femininity and power and shows that women can be both.

The video features an undeniably catchy beat, and flawlessly combines the best of Korean pop and Western hip hop music, with the majority of the songs in Korean but snippets in English. The video is filled with eye-popping and iconic visuals, though the candy-colored aesthetics and set pieces are meaningfully placed and layered with hidden depth.

From stroking a fennec fox while rapping, “You fall for me, it’s okay. I’m foxy!” to twirling a shimmery parasol and displaying a katana sword brazenly emblazoned with ‘BLACKPINK,’” the group disregards traditional notions of beauty or strength and harnesses a new force that combines them into one.

Rosé impresses upon the audience that she smiles easily only because it helps her achieve her aim while the shot captures her hauntingly beautiful eyes and sharp eyeliner and another scene has Blackpink knocking down life-size chess pieces.

From the handful of shopping bags thrown up like confetti to a chalkboard behind Lisa who raps with bravado about getting a “fat check,” motioning to the board for a “fact check,” Blackpink makes an unapologetically confident and bold comeback.

Yet many come from humble origins, with hard work and grueling practice being the only secrets to success.

“In Australia, I didn’t think that there was much of a chance for me to become a singer — especially to become a K-pop star… I was living so far from the country that it never really occurred to me as a possibility,” Rosé said to SBS PopAsia, having grown up in Melbourne before working with YG Entertainment. “[Practicing and training were the] most challenging yet most life changing periods.”

Lisa shares the hardships of trainee life, but also the support she experienced that allowed her to continue.

“The support of my dad and mom’s part really helped me alot,” she said to Nylon Japan. “And my fellow trainee members who I trained with. We shared a lot of painful times, we shared about a dream that is debuting and I think that was keeping me and my motivation up.”

The group is incredibly close, and has found friendship and sisterhood, as well as compatibility in working together.

“I like our team best,” Jennie said to High Cut. “We’ve been together since the early stages through it all until it was just the four of us. We match each other well, that’s why I can’t imagine myself being in any other girl group.”

Onstage and on the streets when encountering fans, the magnitude of their influence becomes clear and the Blackpink members are able to truly comprehend and visualize the empire they have built.

“Since we’ve only been going back and forth from the practice room and broadcasting stations, I haven’t felt a huge difference,” Jisoo said to InStyle Korea. “But when our music plays on the streets, fans cheer and sing along, living this singer’s life feels real.”