Playing the Race and Sexuality Cards in the Transnational Pop Game: Korean Music Videos for the US Market
This article examines how the visuals of Korean music videos by BoA, Wonder Girls and Rain play on “racialized notions of sexuality” and “sexualized notions of racial identity.” Visuals that accompany various versions of BoA's music video for “Eat You Up” play into the Dragon Lady stereotype, which gained currency in the 1930s in Hollywood. BoA released three videos for the song: a Korean version that featured two white male dancers, an American version that featured black male dancers, and a third “official” version. Online reactions to the videos reflect racialized perceptions by viewers. Some noted similarities with other hip-hop music videos. Asian American fans were critical of the American version. The visuals in The Wonder Girs’ “Nobody” video allude to the China Doll stereotype. Unlike BoA and The Wonder Girls, Rain’s video for “Rainism” uses provocative images to dispel the stereotype of weak Asian men. American and Asian artists and producers exploit race and sexuality, yet the gender of the artists governs the type of images used in music video.