Amber, Amber Liu, Black, Canceled, Canceled Culture, Korean Culture, KPOP
Today, at various times of the day, the #1 trending topic on Twitter in Korea has been Amber. But this has nothing to do with a music video or anything in Kpop. Amber was on a recent episode of Just Kidding News on YouTube and was asked to give her thoughts on the following clip taken from YouTube:
In summary, Amber’s response was that the man in the video was being “super disrespectful” and “deserved it” for this to happen to him for not showing more respect to the police in this situation. This wasn’t the best answer Amber could have given to this clip. Since then, Amber has gone on twitter to apologize for her remarks. To read her statement and remarks, you can go to the article from Soompi that is here: https://www.soompi.com/article/1366424wpp/amber-liu-apologizes-after-facing-backlash-for-remark-in-recent-video
Note About Amber’s Statement: In an attempt to be fair about this article, I went to the YouTube Channel of Just Kidding News to try and watch the clip in its entirety before writing this article. At the time of this being written, the clip was not visible in a list of their most recent clips. There was a playlist on Amber Liu videos that they have listed. However, of the 14 videos listed in this playlist, videos 11-14 are now marked private. Given the order of the videos, it would appear that the clip in question is private. Therefore, the comments given are based on the snippet(s) of this clip that are being circulated at this time.
For a defination of what being canceled means, click here.
Why Amber Is Getting Canceled
In the past few years, many clips like this have gone viral over the internet. Sadly, in some of them, the person in the video has been assaulted or killed in the video. This has included children and women being assaulted. It is hard to pretend that Amber isn’t aware of racial issues in California, when she lived there before going to Korea. And that’s not to mention the number of times she has gone back and forth between Korea and California during her career. In her statement, she mentions that she wasn’t more aware of how racism has continued and has gotten worse in the US over the 10 years that she has not lived there full time. However, she said that she believes in “#BlackLivesMatter”. It is a mystery as to how she knows about this hashtag and organization, but not about the racism that this hashtag was originally designed to address.
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Amber is learning a lesson that she should have learned a long time ago about Kpop. That lesson being that much of Kpop has been taken from African American culture. This has resulted in a number of African Americans getting involved in Korean culture and supporting Kpop. Amber is learning the hard way that a number of her supporters are indeed African Americans. While Amber has made it a point to support her fans and to send a message that it is okay to be who you are, it doesn’t appear that way to many of her African American fans. For many of them, her comments reflect the hatred and prejudice that many have felt in Korea and in Korean/Korean American culture.
For me, my overall experience in Korea and in the culture has been positive. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t had challenges or seen challenges faced by others. I’m not a club going person, but many Black men in Korea are turned away at clubs, including clubs that are playing African or African American based music. Even when going to clubs with Korean people, many are turned away. Seemingly few in Kpop acknowledge that they borrow dance moves, fashion and styles from African Americans.
In my personal life, I’ve had Korean people tell my friends to “don’t bring that Black guy around” or people not wanting to sit or stand next to me on buses or subways. East Asia in general has a very poor reputation when it comes to how it treats people with darker skin or of African descent. This may explain why a number of Korean fans have come to Amber’s defense, while many African American fans of Amber are ready to cancel her.
Can Amber Get Un-Canceled?
As for if Amber can get un-canceled, I’m honestly not sure if that can happen. What Amber has to learn, besides the reason why her comments were viewed as hurtful to many people, is that the people hurt in this situation have often heard from others that they were sorry, only for time to prove that the people were anything but sorry. To many, Amber’s apology is a careful example of trying to win people back to her side at a very important time in her professional career. While saying I’m sorry is an important step, showing that you are sorry is a lot more important. And showing that one is really sorry is something that takes time to accomplish.
My reaction to the whole situation is that I wish I would have seen the entire clip to know how this ended. In the clips that I’ve seen, I don’t see any African Americans in the room talking about the treatment of an African American by the police. While this is a civil rights issue, a human rights issue and a situation where everyone has the right to their opinion, it can be viewed as questionable as to why a group of African Americans were giving their commentary on this topic in the first place. (Even though many in the African American community will agree that there are some in the community who should not be used as spokespeople and that no one person can speak for the majority, let along all African Americans on any subject.) That being said, perhaps having at least 1 African American present to explain history better may have helped in this case.
While I get why the video of this has been made private, I would have liked to know if Amber said anything redeeming in this video later on that could have given a lot more context that what is currently out there. Amber is aware that she made a mistake, which is why she apologized for what she said. But what is more important than recognizing that she hurt people is for her to recognize why her words hurt so many people.
I personally don’t buy into the whole cancel culture. Even though I fully believe that you can’t forgive everyone and everything, I try to give the forgiveness that I would want to get when there is a reason to give such forgiveness. I do not feel a hatred towards Amber that would cause me to never speak to her. Would I sit down with her and explain why these words were hurtful? I’m not going to go out of my way and seek her out to do so, but would do so if I ever did meet her. The truth is Amber has lost some fans that she will never get back with this one clip. Just because the full clip went private, it doesn’t mean that this won’t be played in public for a long time. For now, Amber is canceled in the minds and hearts of a number of people who have supported her. Only time will tell if she truly puts in the work to get herself un-canceled by people who have supported her for a long time in her journey in Kpop.