This is super hard to write and I’m going to start it with a trigger warning, this is for anyone from all fandoms.
TW// Dec 18, Suicide
Most of my mutuals on Twitter know me as a 5SOS fan. I’ve been one since a month before I turned 14 and I’m almost 23 now. It’s been a long time.
But, I’ve always compartmentalized my life and while most of my friends know me for 5SOS, an entirely different side of Twitter knows me as a Shawol. For those who don’t know, Shawol is the fandom name for the legendary Kpop group, SHINee, and I’ve loved them since middle school. Longer even, than 5SOS.
For a long time, I did not express my love for Kpop on my main Twitter, because of the negative stigma attached to the genre by close-minded people who thought that music could only exist in a specific language or in a specific style. Only in the past few years have I brought that side of my life onto the timeline, because I realized that by catering to that level of negativity, I was silently endorsing it.
I’m not ashamed for liking talented musicians regardless of the origin of the music and you shouldn’t be either. And while I could speak for hours or even days on this subject and the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding something as wholesome and pure as a love for music, that’s not why I am here today. I am here to address the pointless attacks on an entire genre of artists and entertainers by Keemstar, Void, and Andreas in their recent diss track which I will not give the respect to name or link to.
But, before I continue, allow me to clarify here and now: I don’t care who likes or dislikes Kpop. Music and art are subjective and they have every right to dislike it and even write diss tracks about it. Who cares? My issue comes in when they take someone’s unrelated tragedy and make it fodder for their jokes and shade.
Kim Jonghyun is a vocalist in SHINee and he lost his battle with depression on December 18, 2017. He was a good man with a big heart who dedicated much of his life to his art, his fans, and his brothers in SHINee. He was an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community long before it was deemed socially acceptable to do so in his culture. He elevated fans and even hosted a radio show to hear their stories. He drew energy and inspiration from the people he encountered there and he lived his life spreading kindness and love to all who were fortunate enough and open enough to receive a little bit of his light.
And while I am not someone fortunate enough to have encountered him in my life, as his fan he still impacted me personally. My first tattoo was dedicated to him in April of 2018. It’s still my favorite and most precious tattoo because it reminds me to shine and to tell others that they did well. And my point in sharing these things is to let people know that his impact remains as far-reaching today as it was when he was alive.
By using his death and images from his funeral in a diss track, by mocking those images, his life, and the pain of his family and friends, Keemstar and Void, and Andreas have done so much more than just diss a few Kpop fans who pissed them off by tweeting fan cams. They have hurt countless people who never interacted with them at all, who never stirred up drama or controversy. They hurt Jonghyun’s friends and family.
And, beyond even that, they have furthered the stigma surrounding mental health and seeking help for dangerous thoughts and ideas. When you make a mockery of someone who was in so much pain that they felt like they couldn’t even be on this planet anymore, what you’re really doing is telling everyone else who struggles that even if they go they cannot rest in peace and that if they ask for help, they’re nothing but fodder for sick jokes by adults who should know better.
What this boils down to is that this is bigger than being a 5SOS fan or a Shawol or an EXOL or ARMY or Swiftie or Belieber or Directioner or any other fandom you might cling to or identify with. This is about the difference between right and wrong and using our collective voices for good.
I’m speaking out today in an open letter to every person who has ever called themselves a fan — not to Keemstar or Void or Andreas who seem well past redemption. They are not sorry and they will never be because you cannot force someone to be a good person. But, as one fan to another, I am asking that people speak up and stop allowing hate and vitriol to poison the things we collectively find joy in.
Speak out as one and show the world the power of fandoms and the power of doing what is good and right. It doesn’t matter if it affects your fandom or your fave directly. We, as fans, hold more power than we realize and when we band together is when we can truly make a change. Stop supporting artists who intentionally tear down innocent people.
There are resources linked here if you or someone you know seems to be suffering or a threat to themselves.
Please also find a link to the Shiny foundation, a charity created by Jonghyun’s family and friends to aid struggling musicians.
And thank you for always allowing The Honey POP to speak on behalf of all fans everywhere. We love you.