Welcome to the Industry

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten inspired enough to write a real article. While this news is VERY outdated, I don’t care. The message behind it is still very much alive wherever you are. So listen up.

Actress Jang Ja Yeon will probably be remembered as “one of the bad chicks on Boys Over Flowers.” But little did anyone expect, prior to her suicide on March 7, she had been the victim of a corrupt agency, coerced sex, and other such abuses. What the fuck is going on?

Shouldn’t reading stuff like that make all these bright-eyed kids, well…turn the other cheek to their hopeless dreams of becoming a star? Looking at all these trainees in countless companies…Guess not. What a shame. I’m not implying that ALL these companies have the same bad rap as Jang Ja Yeon’s, but you never really know. And while Jang Ja Yeon’s case was something far more extreme than I have heard of in quite some time, it doesn’t mean that other abuses in the industry that are less severe don’t mean anything. It happens everywhere and right in front of our eyes.

Jang Ja Yeon had been forced into sex with many people in the industry. In the back of a novel in her home, police had found something close to a “death note” of sorts, listing several names of notable figures in the industry and how she hated them. I don’t know the extent of her popularity as an actress, but I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to publicly state such resentments. Could you blame her? You’d do the same thing if you were being sexually coerced.

As I mentioned earlier, not all stars suffer the same fate as Jang Ja Yeon. Still, many follow her path into suicide. There are several questions left unanswered for all the families who suffer from the suicide and death of a loved one who was fortunate (or in this case, I suppose unfortunate) enough to be a star. Anyone remember this? It could be personal reasons and it could be the very industry that they’re working under. No one will ever really know, I suppose. And for the lucky few in the industry that have the will power to live on despite the abuses (physically and mentally), it doesn’t mean they’re better off.

Actor Lee Junki recently injured his ankle during practice for his fan concert. Almost as soon as he got out of that hospital, it was back to work. Now, they can say he rested or whatever, but really, do you think the company would allow that with the concert just 3 days from today? Don’t think so.

Even more recently, Wonder Girls’ leader, Min SunYe was suffering from a fever/cold of some sorts. There were even rumors that while the girls were in the states for JYP’s 2009 American Tour, she was taken to the hospital or whatever after fainting during practice. However, a JYPE representative stated that this never occurred and all those pictures of the “fainted SunYe” were fake. Well, if one were a sensible person, there are two ways you can see this. One would be to believe the representative. Another would be to believe that the company was lying to our faces to cover their asses up from any lawsuits or whatever. It’s a matter of personal opinion. Anyway, it wasn’t just the leader that suffered, but ALL the girls. On their recent documentary “Welcome to Wonderland”, the girls revealed that they have been working nonstop, rarely sleeping, and vomiting and fainting more than ever as a result of preparations for their concert tours in Asia and America. Despite their poor health, the girls practiced on (whether on their own will or not).

Flower boy, Kim Hyun Joong, was rushed to the hospital on the 3rd of April after fainting from exhaustion. Even with the shooting of “Boys Over Flowers” being wayyyy over, the man still clocked in an average of 2.5 hours of sleep per day. I get more sleep during exam week than he does. This wasn’t the first case, either. February 17th, he had fainted on the set of Macau twice.

And while we’re on the topic,  the month of February seemed to be doomsday every day for the cast of Boys Over Flowers. All the flower boys were involved with car trauma of some sorts. Goo Hye Sun injured her head on set. And yeah, so they took a “break” but it’s still back to the ol’ grind once they’re good enough to function. If they can walk and talk, all is well.

Stephanie from The Grace has also been a victim of overwork. Known as the group’s best dancer, Stephanie was known to have some chronic hip problems. Around early March, it was reported from SM entertainment that she could not join her ladies on their tour across Japan. The girls might not have been as busy as say SNSD or the Wonder Girls, but  even then, they did work and dance, further exacerbating her hip problems. I’m actually very surprised that SM (who has quite the bad rap) even let her off like that. More on SM later.

Ballad star Baek Ji Young was hospitalized after she was found unconscious in her home around some time in February. She was reported to have suffered from exhaustion and fatigue. Go figure. March 25, FT Island’s drummer Choi Min Hwan had fainted from, you guessed it (!), fatigue and overwork from musical activities and filming. Oh and just for additional drama of sorts, the guy is only 16.  Ho boy, this never gets old.

Now, not to hate on SM (if you know me well, you know I do that enough anyway xD), but there are rumors flying around and about of their abusive ways. You wanna hear some of it?

Shinhwa was a group under SM Entertainment around the 90s. They left the company around 2003. So what made them leave one of the biggest companies in all of Korea? Some say it was because they were being physically abused by their managers. Others say it was due to having no freedom in the musical aspects of their career.

H.O.T. was another group under the company. After disbandment, Moon Hee Jun went solo. After the not so successful release of his first album, SM withdrew funding from the former H.O.T. member to apparently focus on their future cash cows, BoA and DBSK. While the newer and hotter stars were rising, Hee Jun supposedly had to pay out of his own pocket to release his future albums.

Enough with the legal issues! You wanna hear the juicy stuff, neh? SM has been notorious for their whole “putting their artists under the knife” thing. Looking at several before and after pics, it’s safe to say that it’s not a rumor anymore. However, it’s not just SM. Several companies will manage to persuade their up and coming stars to get their bodies/faces fixed to have a fresh appearance to debut with. In layman’s terms, they’ve gotta get fixed to look hot enough to bring the company cash. Either they do it, or they get dumped. That argument is pretty convincing, I guess. Look at all these stars walkin’ around with new noses, boobs, butts, etc. just to keep their status in the industry.

Maybe some stars are lucky enough to have decent looks and get away with minor or no surgery at all, but that doesn’t change the fact that their bodies need to be maintained for the viewing pleasure of thousands upon thousands of onlookers. The pressure is on before you even debut. Gotta keep things hot and fresh to keep your job! I’m not even famous and I know it’s tough work to keep your body in shape! Let’s take the Wonder Girls’ rapper, Yoobin, as an example. She had gained weight during “Nobody” promotions in 2008 and netizens were always ready to notice and criticize. It’s bad enough when one puts on the pounds, but when you’re famous and get so much criticism for it, that’s another story. I can gain weight and no one would really give much of a shit. But, since it was Yoobin that did, well, ouch. You can only imagine the emotional roller coaster.

There’s also the pressure of staying popular. The longevity of stars in the industry is about one project. If you manage to get through a year without being forgetting, that’s pretty damn good. But with every DAY that passes by, I swear there’s a new trainee or artist to debut that I’ve been told to look out for. But, unless they make something out of themselves, the hype dies away as soon as I hear of their existence. Survival of the fittest never meant so much. Just look at the music industry. A new artist debuts like every friggin day I’m alive, I swear. But not all of them last past the first album/mini album, whatever! And if their debut was a dud, they’d be lucky as heck if they even have a comeback stage! And what happens when you become some washed up nobody? Oh the repercussions of a star.

I can blabber on and on about the corruptions behind entertainment companies, but really, we play a role in the destruction of stars as well. We, the fans, can make the fire in the hearts of any star dwindle to ashes. Why? Sure, we’re there for our favorite stars. We support them mindlessly and whole-heartedly! They’re capable of no wrong! They’re like the Jesus of the 21st century! So why do I say we have the power to destroy them?

It’s because we’re fans that stars even have a job. The every day consumer pours their hearts, their time, and their money into the piggy banks of these companies just so we can be pleased by their star(s) existence. We feed the trolls. and because there’s more of us than there are stars, companies scramble to get their stars as exposed as possible to bring home the bacon. That means getting them from point A to point be in the least amount of time as possible, then to point C, D, E, F…need I go on? Every “point” they pass by is another couple dollars in the company piggy bank. Who cares if the star is sick? Who cares if they’re getting a lack of sleep? Who cares if they’re hungry? Yeah sure, we care, but I find that we the fans contradict ourselves quite often.

We want our stars to rest, relax, keep their health and morale up! But if we were truly sincere about this, we wouldn’t be complaining as often as we do. We wouldn’t be asking “When’s your next movie coming up?” or “Are you working on a new album/project yet? I’m getting bored!” I’m very guilty of this. You know you are, too. We can shower them with gifts and love, but we will always be the result of their bouts of exhaustion and fainting spells. To please the consumer, the product must be used to its very limit at any cost. Damaged goods? Find the next best thing. It’s that simple.

Then there are those anti fans that are out to literally destroy the stars. The scary part is, they mean business. While some anti fans can sit in front of their computers and make fun of a stars mistakes, bad outfits, etc., others are not so easily amused. Yoon Eun Hye was attacked (I wanna say around her Baby V.O.X. days, but I can’t say for sure) by an anti fan. She was shot in the eye with a water gun filled with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar.

I definitely don’t need to remind any Cass out there of YunHo’s poisoned drink concocted by antis. And while not all anti fans are out to cause physical harm upon an artist, they can do just as much harm emotionally/mentally. Rain has quite an amazing body, neh? Anti fans basically kicked his balls when they said something along the lines of “Great body, but the voice…er, not so much.” And the guy’s career is in the music industry. The whole modeling this is just a part of the package. Ouch…

And onto the group with probably the largest number of antis I’ve ever seen in my life, SNSD. The girls were completely boycotted during last year’s Dream Concert. No lights. No cheers. Nothing. The BURRRNNNNN! The girls were in utter shock and left in tears after the concert as a result.  Wonder what this year’s concert will look like?

As you can clearly see, you’re in for a doozy if you ever “make it” in the industry. They say it’s a tough road ahead of you and they sure as hell weren’t kidding. Overworked to the point of exhaustion. The emotional and physical abuse. The never-ending pressure. The sleepless nights. Is it all worth it? I mean, really worth it? Whether you say yes or no, that’s how it is and I doubt things are changing for anybody. Be prepared to sell your soul to the devil. Congratulations, welcome to the industry.

9 responses to “Welcome to the Industry

  1. Nice article, the music industry is hard, showbiz in general. One minute you have legions of fans backing you up and then next thing you know they turn another way, towards a newer crop of idols.

    You know what I don’t get it, isn’t anti – not a fan. So if I’m not a fan of a group aren’t I an anti? And if I say I’m an anti of said group all the fans that idolize the said group will jump on me in seconds.

  2. could have been said any better you are so true i remember the SNSD dream concert that was so wrong i can’t believe it and now look at SNSD since their gee album they got popular quickly if ur really a true fan you/I should support our favorite singer/artist not criticize them and we should know they’re people like us to they have feelings too! but me i don’t criticize other artist for example if i like wonder girls i don’t say bad things about other artist or say something bad about them thats not right because it cause physical and emotional stress to artist just like what u said and specially if ur a fan of a artist u have no right to talk negative things about them.

  3. Your article is completely right.It’s true that some stars have suffered a lot during their trained day after they debut they once again faceed with criticize or mean comment.If they made it big like DBSK they had to work,work,work like machine.They once said in a year they only had 10 days more or less to rest.How come?They’re human being too!I still remember abt SNSD incident in Dream Concert but dis year there wil be different since Gee is popular.Abt their company,they make the star work as slave.So we,fan should support stars wit love n try not to give bad comment esp treat them fairly not only ur favorite one.

  4. I say bad things about k-pop artists I don’t like not that serious but it’s not like I’m demeaning them it’s my opinion. Plus their on the other side of the world it’s not like my opinion matters. If I was sitting right next to them I’d keep quiet though. You can’t help it if you don’t like an artist but there are fans that cross the line and take it to another level.

  5. I do enough criticizing on this blog LOL And as michizan said, it is our opinion. We are free to think and say as we please.

  6. I agreed with 99% of what u said in your blog…expect for the consumer part, I do agree that many of us regular folks do play a part in the matter but at the same time…most of the time no one is forcing these people do go into entertainment business by all means. I quite sure that many of them are quite aware what goes on and how freaking difficult it is to make it there, because there is always someone whose younger, and hotter that’s going to come along and upstage you.

    I think of it this way many celebrities I feel get power hunger, they began to crave all the power, and fame and monetary benefits that come with being a celebrity. They get to fly first-class private jets, and skip security, they get tons of free shiet just for showing up at an event, they get millions of dollars for making crappy music and movies. C’mon who wouldn’t want that kind of lifestyle, hell who would want to give that up? I honestly think that many of them think about the benefits before thinking about what they have to endure before getting into the entertainment industry.

    There are millions of people in this world that can sing, act, dance but at the same time many of these people realize that just because they can do this it doesn’t mean that their talent is meant to be showcased to the rest of the world.

    I do talk and say things about people in the entertainment business, I have a right too, because they choose to put themselves out there for everyone to criticize, and they have to know that not everyone is going to like them. Are we suppose to? I’m a big k-pop fan but I cannot say idol bands, mostly because their music is pop and their rabid fans that rip the non fans a new ahole everytime someone disagrees with them and expresses that they don’t like so and so.

    I feel bad for the celebrities but at the same time I don’t…because they have the means and the money to get out of whenever they want, it’s not any of our faults that they choose to put all their eggs in one basket. Get out go to school get an education to fall back on…fame don’t last forever, and people are going to forget you as soon as the next big pop act comes along~

  7. agree, once you make the decision to be an entertainer…be ready to sell your soul…
    with fame, comes consequences!

    and please stop killing yourselves!!! what is up with the suicides???

  8. Hello,

    It’s always a pleasure to read your post. Weather I agree or not.

    I just wanted to reassure you about Steph’ back and SM. SM is still our favourite humanist. If Steph got her break we can thank Avex for that.
    That and the way SM has been screwing Tenjochiki’s schedule leaving them with no schedule in Japan.

    About Jang Ja Yeon, are the police really burrying the case? Could you update if you have any news?

    Thank you^^

  9. I have no current news about the case. It hasn’t come up on the news since. Sorry bout that =[

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