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Nar_C by Holland

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K-pop singer Holland released a new song, with a heartbreaking music video. The 22-year-old from Seoul is making waves as one of the first people to come out as gay within the Korean pop music industry and debuting last year.

Holland released Nar_C as his first single of 2019 last week, featuring a tumultuous same-sex romance. Before the single release, he shared a teaser image that explained the story of the video: A gay couple are together for two years and living together for one, until it all crumbles.

‘Sensitive and delicate Holland,’ he stated. ‘Spontaneous and impulsive Jaeseok.’ He then added: ‘As time went by, they got used to each other, would get into fights over things. After fighting, Jaeseok would always bring a yellow daffodil as an apology. One day, they had a big argument over a small issue. They could not contain their emotions. Jaeseok left. Holland was left at home by himself. Sometimes he opens the door but Jaeseok never comes back. Holland goes outside holding a yellow daffodil’

 

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K-pop group BTS give emotional “Love Myself” speech at U.N.

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The the K-pop group BTS attended a meeting focused on youth issues at the United Nations in New York City yesterday, where they took to the podium to deliver a speech about their “Love Myself” campaign which launched last year.

Though Kim Namjoon, better known as RM, delivered the speech on behalf of the group, his fellow six band members—V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, Jimin, J-Hope—all joined him at the mic, delivering a unified speech about finding self-acceptance that is now going viral on the Internet.

In the six-minute speech, Namjoon specifically spoke of his upbringing in Ilsan, South Korea, and how he struggled to find his true passion and identity while growing up. “I would look up at the night sky and wonder… I used to imagine I was a superhero who could save the world,” he said. “In the intro to one of our old songs, there’s a line that says my heart stopped when I was maybe 9 or 10. Looking back, that is when I began to worry about what other people thought of me and started seeing myself through their eyes.”

He continued, “I stopped looking up at the night sky, the stars. I stopped daydreaming. Instead, I tried to jam myself into the other molds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and listen to the voice of others. No one called out my name and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. Like this, I—we—all lost our names. We became like ghosts. But I had one sanctuary, and that was music.”

BTS fans quickly reacted to the speech on Twitter, where many thanked the group for sharing the message about self-confidence and self-acceptance. Namjoon specifically spoke of the success of the “Love Myself” campaign with his fans, saying he has heard remarkable stories from “all over the world.” The message is not a new idea for BTS, either—they have released several “Love Yourself” albums, all promoting the same idea. They also spoke out about queer and mental health issues before.

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Neverland by Holland

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K-pop newcomer Holland released his first single Neverland earlier this year. The song and music video are all about queer love. Neverland is a mellow R&B track that relays the emotions of a man who wants to avoid discrimination and escape to a place of free love.

The song’s accompanying music video similarly places the singer’s sexuality in the spotlight, depicting a rare same-sex kiss in a video describing the ups-and-downs of a relationship. Neverland received a 19+ rating in South Korea because of the kiss.

Holland is the first openly gay k-pop idol to debut, though MRSHLL, another R&B artist, came out before releasing his first song last year, becoming the first Korean singer to begin his career while openly addressing his sexuality. Same-sex love is rarely addressed in k-pop and South Korea’s entertainment industry. Only a handful of celebrities, including the entertainer Hong Seokcheon and the transgender singer Harisu, are publicly out.

Though Holland has no large agency backing, and was a relatively unknown in the k-pop scene until he first started teasing his debut single, he has already caught the attention of many k-pop fans who have been eager to see more diversity and queer representation in the Korean idol industry.

Neverland racked up more than 700,000 views within 24 hours of its release, to this day the video has been watched over 10 million times.