As one of the pioneers of the Hallyu wave, BLACKPINK has often been credited for taking K-Pop to unprecedented heights. Their music, a vibrant amalgamation of various genres, electrifying performances, and their universal appeal has significantly contributed to the global appreciation of K-Pop.
But did BLACKPINK really pave the way? The group’s vocalist Jisoo had a great answer to the polarizing question during an interview with ELLE Korea.
The notion of “paving the way” in the K-Pop industry has always been a contentious topic among fans. Some credit first-generation groups like H.O.T and Seo Taiji and Boys for establishing the genre in the ’90s, while others acknowledge second-generation acts like BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, and TVXQ! for propelling the genre into the global sphere.
More recently, the phenomenon of groups like BTS and BLACKPINK, who have been able to penetrate Western markets like never before, has added another layer to this debate. Fans often lock horns over who truly “paved the way,” with passionate arguments citing different milestones, such as music chart accomplishments, worldwide tours, and breakthroughs on international platforms.
Just a few weeks ago, BLACKPINK was invited as headliners in the popular UK festival BST Hyde Park 2023. The festival’s website introduced the girl group as “K-Pop Trailblazer,” — which led ELLE Korea to ask Jisoo the big question: “Do you really think [BLACKPINK] have pioneered?”
In return, Jisoo shared a humble yet thoughtful perspective. “Maybe half and half?” she began, reflecting the group’s down-to-earth demeanor despite their stardom.
Jisoo’s comment reflected the respect that BLACKPINK has for the artists who came before them, acknowledging that they built upon the foundation others had set. At the same time, Jisoo was candid about the group’s role in pushing the boundaries and creating new paths. Her statement highlights the group’s understanding of the importance of timing and context in their meteoric rise.
But the BLACKPINK vocalist further elaborated on her hope for the future.
Jisoo’s answer underscores BLACKPINK’s legacy — not only as successful artists but also as trailblazers intent on encouraging and aiding future generations of K-Pop artists. Their approach seems less about “owning the path” and more about making the path more accessible for those who follow, reinforcing their team spirit and leadership in the industry.
Either way, there’s no denying BLACKPINK’s journey has certainly been pioneering in many ways. Contributing to K-Pop’s growing worldwide presence and carving out a place for female groups in an industry often dominated by boy bands being just two among many.