In case you haven’t heard, Psy and Snoop Dogg released the music video for their new song “Hangover” this Monday—a feat which has already amassed close to 40 million views in just two days. Like “Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman”, the video is characterized by Psy’s over-the-top antics to mainstream pop music, which, as usual, has inspired an outpour of negative feedback from Internet users.
From a Korean’s perspective, watching Snoop Dogg eat triangular gimbap, do a loveshot with soju, and dance with an ahjumma (an elderly Korean woman) may have been one of the most amusing things I have ever seen. Why do I find this amusing? Because this literally never happens in mainstream media. The juxtaposition is the strangest of strange visuals: a well-known American hip hop figure, not only chilling with a Korean, but also engaging in part of his Asian culture. While others can cringe at the weirdness, I raise a toast to Psy–congrats on raising awareness of Korean culture, even if it is through your own quirky way.
Sure the video may not offer an accurate portrayal of all Koreans. Not all Koreans drink and party insanely. There’s more to our culture than that. But Psy also makes a more conscious effort to incorporate staples of Korean culture unseen in his former music videos. While Americans might see the music video as random compilations, scenes like ramen-eating at local delis, the disco pang pang ride, the appearance of k-pop stars, and gangster fighting scenes are all authentic aspects to Korean society that deviate from the stereotypical representations of Asians that we see in America. Even the focus on drinking is not terribly inappropriate to talk about since Koreans outdrink most countries in the world. While Psy’s quasi-fetishizing of our culture is something to worry about to some, it is also important to acknowledge that he is tapping into a mass proportion of people who can barely differentiate Koreans from other Asians.
So before you post your yappy YouTube comments, Twitter statuses, Facebook links, or whatever, trash-talking the ridiculousness of Psy’s new music video, go watch the millions of other music videos (I suggest Turn Down for What or anything Katy Perry/Lady Gaga), and realize that Psy’s shock tactics come from following successful American mainstream pop. For me, there is real value to Psy’s music, at least to the Asian-American community, and at the end of the day, if a voluntary click of a url and willingness to sit through a 5-minute video, is another step to expanding diversity, then I’m proud to rep Psy as my fellow Korean.
Check out the video here!