How the first black kpop artist failed in Korea and what you can learn from it


Most people would charge the reason why Alex the first black person, however, biracial to debut into the South Korean pop industry’s failure to the widespread racism among the Korean people towards people of African or even none Korean descent. Nevertheless, while this had played a factor, I would argue that it wasn’t a significant factor, at least not as most people would want to see it.

This is Alexander Reid, a regular girl from Kentucky USA. Two years ago she broke the internet as the first black kpop artist, debuting into the South Korean girl group bp Rania as the group’s rapper and leader. Every black kpop fan leaped for joy when it happened. Finally, she had given hope to little black girls all over the globe who had dreams of being on that stage, looking all glamorous and being cheered on by millions of adoring fans

But then something happened, it was reported that she was leaving the group. A lot of people were astounded, “what went wrong?” “I mean she barely lasted more than a year?”
This gave birth to a hack a lot of speculations, “she was kicked out of the group”, “they tried to abuse her”, ” its because Koreans are racist”I could go on all day, but I won’t.

so what really happened? while no one outside the immediate circle of influence may ever truly know what went down between her and her agency, here is my reason why Alex was never fully accepted by the public. and for such reason, her downfall was hastened. let’s face it, in Korea’s entertainment industry, the public holds the real power, not the idol, nor the agency or its head. they are more of dogs with loud barks and no critical bite. 

THE RISE AND FALL OF ALEX REID

now you may not agree with everything I say, but you should know that she is being critiqued by universal social and cultural rules, one not peculiar to the Korean or Asian society. it should also serve as a guideline for anyone who plans on breaking into any social group or culture or society. Sadly enough, Alex was painfully naive as she broke numerous rules and made blunders here and there. So where did she make them?

South Korea’s trainee culture

The trainee phase is just another sleek name for the apprenticeship phase. And what happens during an apprenticeship stage?

A young lad or lass learns about his/her trade, knowing the ins and outs, how things are done and most importantly, acquire the necessary skills needed to advance and conquer in such a field. The average trainee spends about 6 hours a day mastering their skills, six out of seven days a week. It is said that one needs to spend 10000 hours practicing intensely on a specific task or vocation for them to gain mastery of such. Therefore if an average trainee spends 6 hours a day, six days a week on their craft, most would likely archive mastery in 2 years and a quarter. Yet a lot of the current kpop stars spent more than this time in the trainee stage.

Here, the trainee is the student and their agency the master/teacher. so just like the traditional apprenticeship system, a teacher is approached by an aspiring student (auditions), hungry to learn and succeed in the trade. the student shows potential, diligence, and teachability to the master who then in turn judges if such student would be fit for his liking and training. oftentimes for the teacher to make such a decision on whether to accept such student, he/she must have believed in such student, his potential and his ability to reap something worthwhile in return from their encounter. so for this, the teacher is willing to sacrifice his time, energy, and if needs be, money to shape and define this diamond in a rouge, their new project, and possibly a masterpiece.the same goes for agencies and aspiring entertainers.However, in a case where such a master is not willing to make any sacrifices on their part as in the case of Alex who never underwent a rigorous apprenticeship phase, the motive of such encounter between her and her agency is in question.

It was noted that Alex could barely speak nor understand Korean, oftentimes she was left out in discussions because of this. All her raps we’re in English, which was very bad as a kpop idol. But I’ll get to that later.

An agency is not only a teacher but also a business, and a business would never put invaluable resources into something they do not believe would be profitable or yield them long term returns.
However, there is a pattern that I’ve noticed in every single kpop artist or any other person working in any field in the entertainment industry in Korea. and that is, any foreigner who tends to stay the longest in their fields are those their agency had put in a lot of work into. for example, blackpink’s Lisa monobam from Thailand Or twice’s tzuyu from Japan.but for every other foreigner who had skipped this phase, they almost always end up being nothing but a passing fancy.
The way to spot an agency who really is interested in keeping a person long term and isn’t planning on using them as a promotional or marketing strategy is by how well that agency is willing to invest in that person.
After reading this, some people might be gloomy as the foreigners who had lasted longer in the entertainment industry are only those of a “Korean looking” descent. Well…
Meet same okyere, a Ghanaian t.v star in South Korea, he has not a drop of Asian blood in him.He also stars in k-dramas, one of my favorite being moorim school or ‘moorim hakkyo’ in romanized Korean.

He is the guy sitting tall with a ray of heavenly light shining on him in the middle of the photo.
He is married to a Korean woman and is pretty much accepted by her family and society.Then we also have the biracial Ahn Hyun Min who is one of South Korea’s most famous male modelHe is half Nigerian and half Korean.So you see, her being black was not totally a situation. But if that wasn’t, then was it….

Alex’s social unintelligence

After the reading the first point, some people may start to point fingers at her agency for not caring for her and being exploitative, fair enough. But first, let’s shift the spotlight back to Alex.
Alex is African-American, brought up in the United States 🇺🇸, and is basically westernized. Being ignorant on her part and knowing only Hollywood and America made her view of the societies around the world impaired, especially that of the Korean society. She failed to realize that what was charming, normal and acceptable in one culture is drastically different from another.therefore, one’s inability to adapt to a different culture or society, absorbing their spirit and mirroring their ways is the highest act of social blunder.
Due to poor training, inadequate research on her part and the part of her agency, she thought she could fit in Hollywood into Hallyu. This is evident in her little charade over the Internet.
https://youtu.be/ySuOSnTeGoo
no other kpop female artist or aspirants would have dreamt of doing what she did, at least, not in public. She basically signed off the first rule of society, “when you’re in Rome, you act as the Romans do” but this does not mean becoming a Koreaboo like Lana

A Russian girl who changes both her last name and face to look more Korean in other to fit into the kpop world.  this ended up making the International community disgusted. But I won’t be talking about her case as my blog is primarily about people of color, and issues affecting us.
Her thinking she could be her normal black American self at the early stages of her career was just downright stupid, especially when people’s defenses we’re still up concerning this ” foreign invader” to the very heart of Korean culture, of Hallyu.

It is a normal human instinct to be afraid and defensive of something new or foreign. if you were to imposed change, it is always a bad idea to do it all at once. you are bound to stir up resistance!

the second part of this post will feature critical lessons to be learned from her failure and what she should have done differently if she were to have lasted longer in the spotlight.


do you disagree with anything I had said during the course of this blog, share your thoughts and arguments in the comment section below!

5 ways to instantly turn yourself into a brand that SELLS!


There are many famous people who have risen to untold levels of fame and success from considerably nothing all over history. Using basic principles of marketing, sales, and self-development to give them an edge over the rest of their competitions. As a human living in the world’s society, you will always be in competition with other things/people to achieve what you desire the most. Be it the environment, your mindset, people, and even fate itself. However, you must learn to outmaneuver all of these, if you ever want to have what it is you desire.

Marketing, selling and self-development are closely related, and Value development requires a little bit more marketing and selling of yourself to have an above-average advantage. Before I go any further, I need to emphasize to both my old and new readers the same thing I’ve been sounding out for so long; value is an illusion that can be created by anyone with wits.

The trick, however, is not to get marketing, sales, and self-development mixed up. Though they may be related. They play distinct yet specialize roles.

PART ONE: MARKETING

Your public image and the message you pass across to society is too important to be left in the hands of other people, or the worst society itself. No matter how good of an intention they tend to portray. Marketing is everything. And a strong marketing can greatly bolster your unfair advantage over other people far more than beautiful bodily features would ever do you BECAUSE you can always find another pretty younger face. If good looks are your greatest personal advantage over the rest of your competitors, then sadly it is not good enough ( even in the areas of love and professional scene), It just isn’t a strong enough advantage. At least in the long run.

in our current times, beauty is no longer a rare and inaccessible fit anymore; a bit of makeup here, plastic surgeon there, some good cloths and, the right attitude and you’re it. literally, anyone can be beautiful.

History has shown that people who are good at manipulating their public image to not only court attention but also pull crowds towards them have the greatest advantage at the end.


If the business world has taught me anything, is that money and everything good always goes to wherever the crowd is. When starting out, your goal shouldn’t be the perks that could be gained as quickly as possible. Do that, and you would be building a house of cards.

To create a structure that last, you need a network and strong a follower base. These people, and not a fortune, will catapult you to wherever you want to go with ease.

Learn from the bible, seek first the kingdom of God and all other things shall be added abundantly unto you.

BRANDING:

We live in an age of brands and buying ( buying into ideas, trends, movements, etc. often without critical thinking). No longer is selling (skills and whatnot) king.

Branding is putting a name on a product (you), that earns a reputation over the years because it stands for something of “value”.

Branding pre-sells you to the public and shortens people’s hesitation to gather round you and buy what you’re selling. Remember people of your type (or the image you portray) would always gravitate towards you.

A brand has a clear image and can be easily identified by your audience. It is like a red-hot iron pushed on the side of a cow’s hide, it does not come off.

Another synonymous word to brand is a reputation. If you and I believe it that beyouncé is the best female vocals in the world (even when in reality, it is far from the truth) then that my friend, is the truth.

STANDARD SETTING:

For high performing individuals, branding is similar to setting the standards in their “industries” for whatever it is they want to be recognized for. Branding and standard-setting are both similar and yet different. Beware of mixing up the two.

To set a standard you have to pick a particular reputation you want to be associated with and what it is that you offer (be it knowledge, a way of life, a new movement, or trend).

Whatever you do, your primary job is to link your name and what you’re trying to sell to the public with a special meaning, it doesn’t always have to be a rational one.

Most people will jump on the bandwagon of whatever ever is cool, adventurous, even rebellious for the time.

that special reputation; the rake, the rebel, the imp, the genius, the daredevil, the siren. whatever it is. It is what you want to be inserted into your audiences’ minds.

Your ultimate marketing strategy is to have your name synonymous with whatever category you’re trying to create for yourself.

FOCUS:

Setting a new standard when creating a brand requires focusing all efforts to areas that will present the best advantage for you and what you are offering.

It also means picking an area where if you can dominate and win in easily, or the fastest, you can then win in every other subsequent area.

No matter how much we do not like to think about it, we have very limited time on earth, and our time per day, even more so. You can’t spend all your time trying to be strong and win in every area, you will burn out and end up not really exploiting your full potential, your competitive advantage.

Resist the urge to fall into the life of a jack of all trade, multi Tasker, master of none!

You must be extremely frugal and ridiculously selfish about what you chose to expend your time and efforts on. Even if our school system has pre-programmed us to pay more attention to areas we clearly lack strengths.

Learn to economize and mass your resources at areas you have the greatest advantage in life; the 80/20 rule. Whenever you feel you are getting caught up in tasks, remind yourself this, God gives you a bear, life throws at you hares. It is your job to decide which to chase after.

the concentration of force and singularity of purpose is critical for success, with either up and coming people or professionals.

To become world-class you have to pick one thing to focus on, and not a long list of wishful.

Never try to sell your talents or what you offer to the wrong crowd, it’ll be like pouring water in a basket!

And it’ll throw you out of balance.

Naive rookies would want to sell to everybody their ideas, talents, or services. They want to identify with everything and everyone because they feel that they might miss out on big opportunities if they don’t.

The problem with accepting everything from everyone, and trying to be everywhere is that it dissipate your resources (time, energy, money, sanity).

Such wild actions will only throw you into all too many directions and prevent you from actually becoming a leader in anything, and a leader is the only position you should aim at.

POSITIONING IN THE MIND:

Positioning is about a special kind of focus. This kind of focus is at aiming at a psychological target in the mind of your ideal target or audience.

Focus positioning is not only for products advertised on T.V to customers.

Focus positioning is about aiming at the thinking of your most important people and ignoring the rest.

Focusing is about appealing to the emotions of the people at whom you are aiming at. Although focusing the mind is not easy, but without it, you will waste precious time, and wastefully burn up cash and everything of real value at your expense.

You need to pick a narrow, focused target because what you are trying to accomplish is very difficult.

Your goal is to fit yourself in the mind of your prospective audience as a particular thing. But the tricky thing about mind positioning is that it is done not by you but in the mind of your audience, all you can do is to influence.

If you haven’t noticed by now it is much harder to influence people to your own will and let them act willingly in your favor, than it is to coax or force them to bend to your advantage.

This is hard, especially to people who are yet to comprehend people’s behavior. Your goal in positioning is to make your targets think you are the one and only, irreplaceable. Even if in reality it is far from the truth. This is critical not only in the career and social world but even in the world of romance.

positioning requires two things in order to be potent, an ideal target (customer, audience, person), and a competitor (either offering similar or the same thing as you). People are always comparing things, either consciously or unconsciously.

It’s like I’ve always said, as long as you are in this world, in society, you will always be in competition with someone who wants what you want, and as well, people who would want to stop you at any cost.

Uniqueness, even the illusion of it, is your money cow.

But beware that there is a fine line between, authentic genius, and utter stupidity.

Be watchful of the latter!

FINDING YOUR IDEAL TARGET:

Choosing your ideal target is probably going to be not only your biggest task but your most difficult one as well.

I will share with you the tip of the iceberg for this topic since it’s a broad one, sequels would follow hereafter (next week or so), so subscribe to keep up!

Begin by first focusing on a narrow set of people, who would have everything to gain from you and what you’re bringing to the table, and not the other way around.

There is a saying that “he who holds the resources, holds the power”.

But I would paraphrase this as, “He who holds what everyone wants, has the power, and calls the shots”.

This is also applicable to you!

When you are picking your target, make sure you have what is it in their psyche that they are looking for. Your primary targets are the ones who need your strengths. Everyone is interdependent in this world. True brutal independence is a romanticism.

The greats know that to build a strong base for themselves, is to leave people who are inaccessible and focus on those who can be moved by them. This is the wisest path to follow.

You cannot win or seduce everyone over, on the other hand, you must hunt down those who would respond positively to build your foundation and create an avalanche momentum. Your ideals are the ones who would best respond to you.

VALUE:

Recall that your objective is to make your product so appealing to your ideal target that they rush to buy whatever it is you are selling to them.

So ask yourself, “what exactly can I do to make whatever I’m selling wildly compelling?, what is it that will get people excited?, will it save me time if I should focus mainly on that to reach my ultimate objective? “Just what is it exactly that would get people panting for more?”.

Discovering your value proposition is definitely not intuitively obvious, and it shouldn’t.

If people can clearly, objectively define it, it becomes banal and looses its seductive lure.

Additionally, it opens you up to critiques who would want to rain on your parade by proving that you all not all that, damping down whatever image you created.

Its either that, or you’d be faced by copy-cats, who would turn whatever you bring to the table into a commodity, something cheap and easily gotten.

Although your value has to be seen, especially by your targets, it shouldn’t, however, be easily explained. See learning the sinister arts of fame from the Modern Masters

Even though what you offer shouldn’t be obvious to other people, it should be, however to you.

You can’t wield a weapon to the maximum level of exploitation if you do not know what it does, and what it could do.

Your goal is to create an image that sells itself. And how do you do that?

BUILDING BLOCK

  • Be clear about what you want to pass across to the public, to your audience. “Explain what it is you are trying to do”, is not what you want to hear from people after coming out. As the more, you try to talk about your work, or worst, explain it. The less alluring it seems. You want to be able to draw a clear-cut, high-definition, 4D image in your head about what is it you are about.
  • your value proposition should save you time, money, as well as energy. Because you know if you can successfully sell in that area, it will sell the rest of what you have to offer by itself.
  • It has to be compelling enough to get people’s attention and keep it long enough for them to get hooked or sold. Your value has to be something that your target really needs in their lives, but are yet to get it. Be it a chance to leave out their most authentic selves through you, a chance to be adventurous, a chance to play the knight, the rebel, a chance to identify with something larger than life, etc.
  • your value shouldn’t be at the mercy of fleeting things; physical looks or maybe even, finances.
  • It must be something that can be improved and made better than it was before, something that can be grown; idea, talent, lifestyle, movement, etc. After you crafted your first compelling version that was successful, DON’T STOP THERE!, why? because somebody, somewhere out there is struggling just like you to make a previous success, or idea obsolete.

because this topic is so broad, I will break the marketing segment into sequels to make the articles short and concise. Next time, I will stress on how to:

  1. soft sell to your targeted audience
  2. create the perfect mind positioning message
  3. create a calendar and an action plan for yourself
  4. how to economize your resources to the best of your advantage against other people.
  5. how to create an ideal target checklist