I’ve grown up quite accustomed to racist comments, so I pushed my Korean heritage as far away from me as possible throughout my childhood. As a result, K-pop was never something I wanted to come close to. But with the rising popularity of the genre, overt racism gave way to a more ironic and subtle fetishization. All of a sudden, being Korean was… trendy. Interesting. The contrasting attitudes were certainly confusing; and while K-pop did help me accept my identity, that definitely didn’t stem from all the people suddenly obsessed with my ethnicity.
While I was uncomfortable with myself and the people who saw me as part of an aesthetic instead of a person, I finally decided to give K-pop a go in 2015. I was on a school break and terribly lonely, and I needed something to escape into, whatever it was. So I chose the music closest to me, since so many people I knew enjoyed K-pop, and I was sort of on the fringes of its various fandoms anyways.
In other words: I started becoming a fan in eighth grade, right as I was tumbling into the pinnacle of teenagehood. I hadn’t thought much about me before. I had always felt alone. But K-pop forced me to confront myself and the awkwardness which I had been stumbling through thus far.
By Jessica Liu
“I always try to incorporate poetry into whatever I do,” Ashley Hajimirsadeghi said, grinning. A rising junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Hajimirsadeghi’s passion for poetry has continued throughout her college years, and she has continuously found ways to push her boundaries in the craft. Her work, packed with poignant imagery and powerful language, lingers long in the mind after just one read.
I've known @goldenastrum—who goes by Moon—since we were just fumbling with our adolescence. Back then, I was starstruck (or moonstruck) by their art, and while we’ve both grown up, the awe I feel hasn’t changed.
By Jessica Liu
“I definitely have way too many ideas, and sometimes I need to focus on just one,” Nicolette Scrivner laughed. “It’s really hard for me to pick because I love them all.” These words capture the passion driving Scrivner’s art, passion evident in the hours of work and energy she devotes to writing and drawing comics. Bold lines and vibrant colors characterize her artwork, making each image eye-catching and captivating.