Jay Park has worked himself into position as one of the top Asian rappers in the game today, but he’s currently enduring a heavy wave of criticism over a newly released song and video. The Korean-American star performed a cover of Kendrick Lamar‘s hit track “DNA” but some in the world of social media believe Park’s take was rife with cultural appropriation and disrespectful to Black culture as a whole.
Park released the song and video this past Monday, featuring the rapper alongside other South Korean artists repping their homeland but donning fashion that is clearly linked to Black fashion and culture. The backlash online was immediate to the point Park took down the video from his YouTube page and took to the same platform to issue a now-deleted video comment that didn’t quite address the issues at hand.
From Jay Park:
A lot of our heroes are Black rappers and not just the aesthetic but their mindset on overcoming the odds and being goal oriented without caring what other people think and who might doubt you. So its only natural that we want to be like them to a certain extent. Having a certain hairstyle or look gives us confidence and inspiration and makes us feel like rockstars and its because its what we see and hear it feels natural to us. Also its because we think so highly of Hip hop and the figures in hip hop that we are influenced so much by them.
We don’t see color. We feel like we’re brothers and sisters in Hip hop which I feel like is a universal language which goes beyond race color and religion.
Park’s comments have been observed by folks on Twitter as being anything but, and many pointed out that Park seemingly made excuses for the display of traditionally Black hairstyles such as dreadlocks and the posturing that is often seen within the span of Hip-Hop culture. We’ve got the reactions listed out below,