Rookie male group SEVENTEEN has recently been in the center of an international debate, although not for a positive reason.
After watching several videos of the Pledis Entertainment rookie group, international netizens are claiming that the members of SEVENTEEN used the “N-Word” (derogatory word for black people). Although fans of the group have come to defend the boys for their statement, explaining that they were saying Korean words and not the English word, proponents of the case against SEVENTEEN have brought up two main incidents.
The word “마 내가” (Ma Naega) does – contrary to most tweets by internationals – make sense in Korean. The word “Ma” is a very playful way of referring to another person and “Naega” mean I am.
Together the words make a legitimate sentence which means, “Hey I am”, or in the full context of the sentence “Yo, I’m going to MAMA”. The words do not mean any offense with a proper translation. However, after S.Coups says, “Ma Naega”, the members repeat the word amongst themselves and Hoshi comes in with a very distinct hip-hop gesture. This signifies that although the term makes sense in Korean, at least one of the members associated it with the sound of the “N-word” and with Hoshi’s gesture, are making light of the racial slur.
The first incident occurred when the group members were playing a game at the airport. In the game, the members were given the syllable “ma,” and needed to connect it with other syllables or words to create a phrase. Although some fans have defended SEVENTEEN by explaining that the boys were saying “ma naega,” opponents have countered that the phrase does not make sense.
Check out some tweets below:
Fans then pointed out that if a person was speaking in a dialect, “ma naega” would be a valid part of a local saying.
While the first incident may have had a valid explanation, fans are claiming that the second incident is clear in proving SEVENTEEN’s word choice. Unlike the first incident, one of the group members can be heard speaking a sentence in English, and ending the sentence with what sounds like the racial slur. After watching the video, many international fans have spoken out against the group, with some referring to the video as irrefutable evidence.