The days of thinking of K-pop BTS fandom in America as just a passing fad appear to be over; both American corporations, as well as K-pop entertainment organisations, have begun to focus on the ever Western fan base. However, catering to a vocal and ardent fan base may be more difficult than it appears. Two recent efforts to meet demand inside the United States were met with immediate hostility, as seems to be the case whenever different K-pop fandoms are set against one another.
Would you like to see a K-pop category added to the MTV Video Music Awards? You have no right to say that! Combine several well K-pop stars into such a mega-talented ensemble that will perform inside the United States? The audacity! It makes you wonder if can please every K-pop fan, or if someone should simply give up. And besides, hell is a place.
The first violation occurred on July 23, when MTV revealed the addition of a “Best K-Pop” VMA category, with nominees for BTS, Blackpink, EXO, Monsta X, NCT 127, and TXT. The backlash was swift as well as widespread. According to Tamar Herman of Forbes, adding a K-pop section was “too little, too late,” and Western awards ceremonies should really have recognised innovative K-pop groups years ago. In addition, the category appeared to be a ploy to keep BTS out of all other categories such as “Best Pop” or “Best Video.”
BTS supporters who were outraged by the MTV news were glad to learn that their lads have announced an official (temporary!) sabbatical, as the group would not be attending the VMAs or other events in the coming months. Other K-pop groups are likely to skip the VMAs as well; fans of Blackpink, EXO, NCT 127, Monsta X, and TXT were equally enraged by the establishment of the genre-specific category, partly because BTS would almost probably win.