“Chicken Noodle Soup”, a new song by BTS‘s J-Hope and Becky G, is getting lots of love from fans, but its music video has raised some concerns about cultural appropriation.
For most of the video, J-Hope rocks blonde-highlighted hair worn loose and parted down the middle: a style reminiscent of ’90s boy bands. Toward the end, however, his locks are rolled into gel twists that resemble dreadlocks.
Both fans and the general public began voicing their concerns about J-Hope’s ‘do when these promo photos came out, just ahead of the MV’s release. Many of these concerns rose from K-Pop history of appropriating black culture through fashion.
Some fans came to J-Hope’s defense by pointing out that his hair is gelled, not styled into true dreadlocks.
I'M 100% black and those who complaint JHOPE has dreads , you are wrong , it call gel twist or coils , confirmed something before jump into conclusion, this is JHOPE time , his collaboration MV going to release an less than 7hrs,I'm not letting y'all run this moment ,get a life pic.twitter.com/vaxu74DHq1
— cynthia⁷⟭⟬ ᴮᴱ (@BTSBAE4ever) September 27, 2019
Others, however, called out J-Hope’s defenders for being “hypocritical”.
i don’t get why ppl defend jhope for his hair then drag jongin and vice versa… it literally the definition of hypocrisy like hello??
— courtney 🦶🏼 (@sehunfeet) September 26, 2019
armys seeing other idols with gel twists: racist, cultural appropriation, ignorant, cancel culture
armys seeing bts with gel twists: omg it's just hair, he's not being racist or using cultural appropriation, respect jhope, blablabla
this smell like hypocrisy to me.
— 𝐋𝐀𝐈𝐑𝐀. ✊🏾❤ (@lairaism) September 26, 2019
So is noone gonna to talk bout jhope's hair or..Yall literally can make anything trend and yet i dont see that trending. Yall drag the fuck out of anyone wholl do the same but wen its your fave..its so easy to turn a blind eye wen its your fave doing the appropriation isnt it lol
— Mari 6days STAN SB19 (@skidaMARlnk) September 27, 2019
J-Hope’s critics feel that he needs to be educated on the matter of cultural appropriation and held accountable for his choices.
as a hobi stan, I didn’t expect that to happen again. we can’t just shut up just because it’s hobi, he needs to be aware, educated and held responsible for his actions regardless. jhope is no diffraction from other idols who do CA. don’t let any biased love control your feelings.
— xx (@johahaebooboo) September 27, 2019
In light of recent things with the Hobi G collab and the overall aesthetic of the video,we’d like to encourage some of you to go over to weverse and cheer this post so BH/BTS can see it and become aware of why some people are uncomfortable. Use #ChickenNoodleSoupcns on weverse pic.twitter.com/z7vciE8aha
— SBS⁷ (@shadybtstats) September 27, 2019
“Gel twists” (locks of hair twisted into sections using gel) and dreadlocks (ropelike locks of hair made by matting or braiding hair) are not the same, but some netizens claim that J-Hope’s hair is purposely styled to look like black hair.
jhope if you read this: the hair is just not it, my man.. why you have to do this everytime you guys are doing hiphop content? do you ever consider your black fans and how would they feel? please do some reading about cultural appropriation baby
— 🗡 (@himmelsschwert) September 27, 2019
This, they feel, is what makes J-Hope’s hair problematic; emulating dreadlocks (and by extension, the people who wear them) while sampling from a hip-hop song created by black artists. The track originated in Harlem in 2006 and features AG, aka the Voice of Harlem.
Idc if it’s gelled. It’s still appropriating black hairstyle. It’s styled to look like african styled hair. On a recreation of a black song. Jhope is a racist and army need to call out their idol and educate him just like y’all did everyone else.
— KOLO IS CUMMING (@longdongjiyong) September 26, 2019
Many fans, on the other hand, are praising J-Hope and Becky G for bringing the original “Chicken Noodle Soup” back into the spotlight, while providing multicultural POC representation.
I dont think you understand how revolutionary it is that chicken noodle soup, a Harlem based song, was paid homage by Becky G and Jhope with Korean and Spanish lyrics intertwined within it and the music video? Filled with people of color. Proud is not even the word
— ⟭⟬⁷ (@asparagus_gooey) September 27, 2019
no but like the flavor that mv had with like 1% white people in it. hobi g said poc rights.
— vero (@mukbangtan) September 27, 2019
Watch the music video here: