SNSD, BTS… are leading K-Pop music groups, but in fact, they also had to endure the “silent black ocean” due to fan boycotts.
“The Silent Black Ocean” is a method K-Pop fans use to boycott artists. This means that when an artist performs, fans turn off their lightsticks, leaving the arena in darkness. At the same time, fans remain silent, refraining from cheering for the artist. This can be seen as a nightmare for all K-Pop artists.
Below are some famous music groups that had to endure severe fan boycotts but managed to rise and achieve great success in their careers:
SNSD (Girls’ Generation)
The “Silent Black Ocean” event involving SNSD at the 2008 Dream Concert remains one of the most shocking incidents in K-Pop. Dream Concert is the largest annual concert in South Korea, featuring numerous top artists and groups each year. This gathers fans of various music groups to cheer for their idols.
At that time, SNSD had just debuted and faced intense criticism due to their interaction with male artists from the same agency. Prior to the Dream Concert, conflicts arose between SNSD and Super Junior fans, exacerbating tensions within the fan community.
When SNSD took the stage to perform, the audience turned off their lightsticks throughout the 10-minute performance. Moreover, during the performance, the audience even chanted the name of another K-Pop group, Wonder Girls, to further hurt the nine girls from SM Entertainment.
Currently, SNSD has become an iconic group that consistently garners public attention. However, their fame and success came with significant hardships.
SEVENTEEN was still a “rookie” group when a boycott occurred at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). At that time, the group didn’t have its own official lightstick, so some fans of other artists used their lightsticks to support the rookie group. However, a majority of the audience decided to turn off their lightsticks, creating a daunting “silent black ocean.”
Despite the challenges, SEVENTEEN is now one of K-Pop’s most successful groups. They are loved for their music and professional performances.
Lovelyz, the first girl group from Woolim Entertainment, faced a boycott during their debut. In 2014, one of the eight members, Jisoo, couldn’t debut due to some malicious rumors. In 2015, with the release of the album “Lovelyz8,” Jisoo was officially added to the group.
However, fans were dissatisfied with this decision. To protest the company’s decision, fans created a “silent black ocean” during Lovelyz’s performance at a Pepsi concert that year. Some fans even called for collaboration with other fan communities to create a larger “silent black ocean” to draw attention to the management company.
Similar to Lovelyz, T-ARA also faced a “silent black ocean” caused by their own fans. At that time, member Hwayoung accused her fellow members of bullying her. Extensive evidence circulated, and Hwayoung left the group.
At the K-Pop Nature+ concert in 2012, fans expressed their dissatisfaction with T-ARA by creating a fearsome “silent black ocean.” They also chanted the name of Hwayoung.
Currently, T-ARA has been vindicated, and it was revealed that the bullying accusations were not the group’s fault.
Despite being one of the world’s top K-Pop groups, BTS also faced the “silent black ocean” two times
The first was at the 2016 Golden Disk Awards. As BTS’s popularity surged, the boycott was believed to have been sparked due to a fan war between BTS and EXO fans. Both fan communities blamed each other and engaged in conflict throughout that year.
At the 2016 Melon Music Awards, BTS faced another “silent black ocean” as fans turned off their lightsticks to express opposition and boycott towards the group.