Live: 2NE1 Says Hello To America At The Best Buy Theater


MTV Iggy Best New Band 2011 Concert w/2NE1, Gyptian, La Vida Boheme, and Yuna
Best Buy Theater
Monday, December 12

Better than: The monoculture.

Korean pop group 2NE1 waved at their fans from a wall-sized window above the Best Buy Theater Monday night. "Music is truly becoming a borderless thing," MTV VJ Sway said while introducing the program, which had been curated by MTV Iggy, a globally minded MTV offshoot. It was a two-hour showcase of their Best New Bands, of which 2NE1 received the most votes.

"Ladies, take a bow!" Sway requested. The four women—Dara, CL, Minzy, and Park Bom—did not bow; they kept waving. This would be their first American performance.

"I've been at MTV for ten years now," Sway said. "Britney Spears has been on this stage. Lady Gaga has been on this stage, and now you are on this stage." There was a feeling of passing a baton from America to the rest of the world.

Later, Sway asked Matt Pinfield for his opinion on the matter.

"I am here with legendary music expert Matt Pinfield," Sway announced. "Ladies and gentlemen he's been with MTV since back in the day... Looking real sexy today Matt."

"Not as sexy as you, Sway."

Then Sway asked Pinfield to profoundly assess the current world of music. "So Matt, there's pop, there's trip-hop, there's hip-hop, there's J-pop, there's K-pop, there's popcorn." Sway was pretty overwhelmed. "There's all kinds of music out there. How has the world of music changed in your perspective?"

"Well, 15 years ago, things were very different," Pinfield said seriously. "Really the only way you could get music was to go out to a store and buy a CD or a cassette or vinyl. Now of course things have changed with the internet and being able to purchase music online, and find websites quickly to find out what's going on in music all over the world. It's endless."

"But back in the day we used to go to the record stores," Sway said, full of nostalgic energy, "We'd dig in the crates and thumb through the vinyl. Remember that? Who used to do that, anybody?"

The crowd cheered.

"Got like three people raising their hand," Sway counted.

"Half the people here haven't even bought a CD," Pinfield said.

Sway directed Pinfield to a world map and instructed Pinfield to relate a history of music. Pinfield's ideas of rock and history are usual and American. "The English took our rock and roll and sold it back to us." "The English sent all of their criminals to Australia." Later Sway described his own idea of music. He drew four lines that intersected vertically and horizontally, across the world. He drew an X on Africa, the source of the "first rhythms." He drew an X on South America, where, he said, rhythms were also happening. He drew an O on America, for some reason. He misidentified Asia as Europe and drew an X there, in order to affect a tic-tac-toe across the world.

This kind of lazy equivalency persisted throughout the evening, which tried to project an image of a politically and economically anachronistic global world that had been elevated by music. The Best New Bands themselves didn't much play along, remaining politically and culturally ensconced when possible. The first act, La Vida Bohème, played a kind of radical dance-punk while uniformly splattered with paint, which according to the band referred to Jackson Pollock and violence. Of everyone in this whole enterprise, they were maybe the most self-aware. Between songs, the lead singer addressed the crowd: "For those of you joining in, we are Menudo." And later, in a serious engagement between performer and audience: "Most of you come from countries where you have facilities. Facilities to grow, facilities to eat, facilities to become better persons. There are countries where we don't have those facilities. You have a responsibility with us. We live in a global community. Never forget that."



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10 comments
RavenSphere
RavenSphere

I agree as i am not getting what your point is here? Gaga fans are some of the craziest around. So to say BlackJacks are somehow off is a huge misrepresentation. If you knew K-pop you would know just how different 2NE1 is compared to most other groups. With the exception of maybe Boa, most try to sell the cute, innocent, image which is very common there. 2NE1 is going completely against the establishment in how women are viewed and supposed to behave in Korean society. They are by themselves changing the entire Korean music industry and that is groundbreaking. So while you don't need to like their music. You can at least appreciate what they are attempting to do. In fact you are also missing another point entirely. In the US how many female groups are there? I can count them all on one hand. How many use sex to sell themselves short giving into established female stereotypes. TLC was one of the few that didn't and were great role models. I expect 2NE1 will do the same.

They are fierce, creative, independently strong women. 2NE1 uses their talent to sell themselves not their bodies. CL in her red military uniform was off the chain. That my friend is hella sexy!! Just check out some of their other MV's like Clap Your Hands. They take B-girl to a whole new level with dhat. Check out CL's rap session with Will.I.Am, epic is to mild a description. These girls are the real deal as you would know that if you had done your research. They represent a side you don't normally see in western music. This is why in part they have such a strong following.  You had stated that strong, passionate fan-base can remain ghettoized, recognized only once in a while by the media for the absurdity of their affections. Who's to say that traditional media is even relevant anymore or needed.  I find your statement quite insulting as we aren't not just part of some underground movement. I can see you are coming from a traditional industry standpoint which is fast becoming irrelevant

One might just ride off these girls and their fans but that would be a mistake. We BlackJacks are not that stupid and frankly 2NE1 knows something many in the industry haven't figure out yet. The web whether you like it or not is the future and they have used that to their advantage. There YouTube page alone has generated in some cases over 30 million views and that is just for one video. They already are having requests for tours from Brazil to throughout Europe and across the US.  Keep in mind they haven't even officially started their US promotions yet and people already know who they are.  It is also stupid to think that all Americans are in this mindset that foreign means bad.  You want bad just listen to the radio on any given day as that is enough evidence. In closing there are some extremely talented Asian artists out there. So it's about damn time they are given some respect, nuff said.

Drsuntzu
Drsuntzu

Dude... this was an awesome concert by 4 awesome ladies of K-Pop. 2NE1 did a bang up job of tirelessly (and breathlessly) throwing out 4 of their big hits to the audience and MTV. It was great to see them finally on conventional MTV after only being able to see them on Youtube. Kudos to MTV for bringing them out! Thanks Blackjacks!

Guilty Hyena
Guilty Hyena

I don't know why Matt Pinfield bothered turning up, I'm sure the English and the Australian's were exorbitantly charmed as-well as every non American. 

kippy87
kippy87

Well, at least there are only 4 members of 2ne1, not  21. And you can tell them apart, like Spice Girls (not really). Most Kpop groups have 500 members who all dress the same.

avplaya
avplaya

KPOP will never be accepted in the US the same reason Hollywood put yellow faces in movies and whitewash movie roles - Non-Asian Americans think it's alright to be openly racist toward Asians.  To be 2NE1's fan sure is strange - cus they're Asians, that's it.  It's not a "strange xenophobia" you're feeling as I'm sure most people like you will find world music from all over acceptable and music from the EU close to home.  What you are feeling is very simply, racist stereotypes and beliefs about Asians which has been ingrained into your mind by decades of anti-Asian racism in American pop culture; from movies, music to fashion.  

Yeah, they'll find a few fans here and there, but they will fail for the same reason why Ivy League colleges can open discriminate against Asians for being better than the rest and no one really cares - Asians just don't matter.

palebluedot13
palebluedot13

This was 2NE1's first performance in America and a YG artist (2NE1's label) hasn't performed in America since 2006, when YG Family did a concert in Madison Square Gardens. Us international kpop fans don't get to see our favorite artists that often. It's not like Little Monsters, who can see Gaga every time she goes on tour. I'm a broke college student. I can't afford close to 3,000 dollar plane ticket just to see my favorite artist perform live. So of course we are going to be excited when they come to America!

It's not that us Blackjacks (2ne1 fans) didn't note the tone of MTV Iggy. We even said that they hyped the kpop segment up too much. Kpop isn't THAT big. 

One of the reasons why us kpop fans had to explain ourselves so much last night and any other time when we are asked about kpop is because it is looked upon as being abnormal or weird to like it. We get it from the people we know personally (my parents ask me why can't I listen to artists that speak "American") and from the media itself. Just because it isn't American made it is weird. The kpop artists either get shoved aside and ignored when they do blimp on the international scene (like Big Bang basically was at the EMA's. some broadcasts even cut their award out) or they are looked at like some oddity or gimmick. Then the media talks down to us fans like we all are just a bunch of hormonal fan girls. When the fact is that I know kpop fans of all ethnicities, religions, ages, and genders. I know a 42 year-old male Blackjack!

But what matters is that fans got to see 2NE1 and the girls got an award and free exposure. Hopefully perceptions will change a bit after 2NE1 debuts over here with their American album.

SariRainMJ
SariRainMJ

I'm not sure I get the tone of your article, but it seems more on the "this is bizarre" side, which is unfortunate. The whole point of this show, this MTV branch (Iggy) is to introduce world music to a new audience. K-pop is perhaps the biggest music industry outside of the US and UK market, and has hug fanbases all over the world, including the US. I'm sure MTV Iggy knew that. That's why they selected 2NE1 as one of the nominees. In their words, they felt 2NE1 spoke the most to the MTV audience, was the best representative of the K-pop genre, and could be best received by a world market. That would've been true for each nominee in their particular style/genre/country. I understand you're reporting as someone who has probably never heard K-pop before 2NE1, but that's exactly the point. And 2NE1 has a crazy fan base, but why is it made out to be strange? It's not strange when Monsters are outside of Gaga's concerts screaming their asses off, and it's not strange when Beliebers are chasing after Justin Bieber's tour bus, but it's strange that 4 girls from Korea could have a similar turn out? For these fans, and I was there, it's because we never would've EVER gotten the chance to see them live. NEVER. They live in Korea, sir. They live in Korea and mostly perform there, Japan, Malaysia, Phillipines, etc... mostly places in Asia. For us, the fans in the West, we've been waiting for them to perform near us FOREVER. And other K-pop groups have, with the K-pop Masters in Las Vegas, and the various individual concerts and record label concerts like SMTOWN. The one thing you pointed out, the bizarre xenophobia when it comes to America accepting Asian artists, is perhaps the only reason K-pop as a genre has been largely ignored by the American mainstream media. Considering the catchy-ness of most K-pop, the perfectly poised pop music, and the attractiveness of the artists, it's not at all surprising that K-pop has such a crazed following. The most surprising part, to me, is how that can't translate to sales in the US. But it still has to do with the desexualization of Asian men, and the exoticification of Asian women that makes people unable to take Korean music seriously. That's America as a whole, with the problem. I just wish you wouldn't make it out to seem like 2NE1's fans are somehow weird. The tone of your article wasn't exactly bad, IDK. It's just that I didn't get the same things you got from it (like Sway basically making light of the event), or that it was somehow more bizarre than any other group of pop fans for the Blackjacks to be going insane for their four queens. I'm thinking you're meaning to be positive... It just gave me a weird vibe. 

Sarah Stephen
Sarah Stephen

^Racism at its finest right there. Look, I am a white girl from a small town in Texas, but I don't think that everyone in SNSD or similar groups looks the same. It may take me a bit longer to tell people apart, but I hardly go around thinking they're identical. My god. People who think like you are the reason why neither SM nor YG have made a big push to get into the US market yet. 

Brad Nelson
Brad Nelson

Hey Sari, I didn't mean to treat the Blackjacks or K-pop fans in general as some strange, unknown quantity! They remind me pretty directly of MTV circa-1999, Total Request Live, all that, where there's so much passion involved that it's articulated in a loud and disorganized way. I think this is great! I think the way the MTV VJs handled the fans kind of undermined that passion, which is what I meant to convey.

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