Jay Park Defends Artist With Dreads After Accusations of ‘Cultural Appropriation’

After trending on Twitter for his controversial statements on cultural appropriation, singer Jay Park clarified his stance in a series of tweets and an apology on Instagram.


View this post on Instagram



A post shared by Jay Park / 박재범 ($hway bum) (@jparkitrighthere) on

The Korean American artist, who is also the CEO and founder of music label H1GHR Music, was recently criticized after sharing a video of Avatar Darko, a talent on his label.

Netizens pointed out to Park that Darko’s hair was styled in locks, accusing the singer of cultural appropriation.

In response, Park commented: “Like every time I twist my hair into spikes with gel, y’all say the same s*** ’cause y’all THINK it looks like dreads… to be honest, this is getting pretty ridiculous… I can’t style my hair?”

But what caught the ire of Black Twitter was his other comment in which he equated non-African Americans wearing dreadlocks to non-Asians listening to K-pop music.

“Yooo feeling somebodies (sic) music is personal opinion but hating on somebody cause their hairstyle…im sorry but THAT aint it… Jay Park and Avatar Darko never disrespect the culture and always give back,” Park wrote on Instagram. “Thats like saying a non asian person shouldnt use korean words and shouldnt listen to kpop cause they didnt go through all the suffering korean ppl went through (if u dont know look the shit up).”

“Its 2019 every culture every ethnicity influences each other and as long as we not disrespecting each other and as long as we not disrespecting each other its all love and nothing else. If I sound like a dumb ass because of this comment then I guess im a dumbass.”

He also followed it up with other examples while replying to other people’s comments:

The backlash was swift, with many interpreting his statement as him saying that it is a form of cultural appropriation for non-Asians to listen to K-pop.

Jay eventually turned off the comment section on his IG post and apologized. He further explained in a series of tweets how perspectives can vary in each culture and that “it’s a beautiful thing (different) cultures influence each other and inspire each other.”

“In no way was I telling anybody not to listen to a certain type of music or do things from a certain culture cause in no way do I speak for everybody in that culture so who am I to say,” he wrote.

“I was just trying to give examples so ppl could understand perspectives but I feel there is no talking to the internet. I probably have the most diversity around me more than anyone else in the Korean music industry and it’s not just to look ‘cool.’”

Park further noted that he himself is not “completely numb” to prejudice, saying he was “saddened to see that some of yall would think that I’m that insensitive.”

Featured Image via Instagram / jparkitrighthere

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com