Today’s helping came to me through a recommendation with the message, “For Pride month.” So I listened to “Neverland” and enjoyed both the song and the video. Holland has subtly smooth vocals, and the video is absolutely adorable. However, it wasn’t until I did a little research that I understood the full context of this song.
For a country that produces as many glittery pop idols as it does, Korea is still very conservative. There is no national law in place to prevent discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, meaning many LGBTQ Koreans stay in the closet in order to avoid social repercussions.
Holland, taking his stage name from the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, upends all that. He’s been called the first openly gay K-pop idol, however, he had to crowdfund his first album because no agency would sign him. He released “Neverland” in 2018, and the music video promptly received a 19+ rating in Korea because of the kissing scene. Which is kind of hilarious considering the many, many homoerotic overtones in the videos of nearly every other male K-pop group. But I digress.
According to Google, attitudes in Korea are slowly changing, especially with the younger generations. Holland may be the first openly gay idol, but hopefully he won’t be the only for much longer. Regardless, I’m in awe of his courage. And his audacity. I hope all his future videos are just like this one. Open and unapologetic of who he is.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!