By Anya Shukla
Sometimes, Marina Chen wakes up in the middle of the night, a fragment of a poem in her head; she keeps a notebook by her bed specifically so she can write down her midnight thoughts. It’s safe to say she constantly thinks about the art form.
By Anya Shukla
Matt Remle wears many hats—he’s passed several laws here in Seattle, works as a teacher at Marysville High School, and writes for Last Real Indians. Remle, along with Chase Iron Eyes, co-founded Last Real Indians in 2012, in response to the absence of Native and Indigenous stories in the media. Over the past eight years, the news site has gained a significant following and serves as a collective of Native and Indigenous authors, organizers, and content-creators.
I first found out about Han Jisung—known by his stage name Han—through his singing. Imagine my surprise when I found out that he’s actually the main rapper in the JYP-managed Stray Kids. As well, he’s involved in 3Racha, the group within the band that produces and writes Stray Kids’ songs, so he plays a part in everything they’ve released. (Though in this article, I’ll be focusing on three songs he’s mainly written and produced himself.)
Han is startlingly multi-talented, and he’s always inspired me; he attempts to help others, and his prowess lies in specifically aiming to help those dealing with any level of anxiety, which he has experience with. It’s different when someone—especially when they’re from your same heritage, one that ignores and stigmatizes mental illnesses—gets it. By taking that step forward as an idol to be honest and firm about his mental health, he’s setting an example for those who look up to him. Listening to his songs lends comfort and mutual understanding as a result. He knows, and he’s allowing for those with mental illnesses to find subtle support.
By Jessica Liu
“There’s people who draw out their look. I can’t really do that. I do things in the moment,” Marisol Suarez explained. Suarez’s creative process embodies her free-spirited, daring approach to makeup. Her Instagram page, @mua_mari, filled with eye-catching, striking colors, highlights the power of her talent and creativity.
Before I begin this article, it’s necessary to note that quite a few of the performers on “High School Rapper” have appropriated Black culture. While K-hip-hop mainly has issues with stealing from Black artists, K-pop as a whole has appropriated from other cultures as well. Many fans—mostly BIPOC—try to hold idols accountable, yet there are always those who attempt to speak over their voices. As such, I think it’s relevant to include a few links that will explain the cultural appropriation that goes on in the South Korean entertainment and music industries; I want to make space here to shed light on the topic, as avoiding it only adds further harm. Here is a good starting point, which talks about racism and colorism in South Korea and the irony of the fetishization and appropriation of Black culture. This article talks about the disrespectful use of a Hindu god and also links to other examples of cultural appropriation.
Mark Lee performed “Drop” with Red Velvet’s Seulgi in the final round of “High School Rapper,” an elimination-based show for, well, high school-aged rappers to see who among them is the best. Lee belongs to SM-Entertainment-managed NCT, a K-pop group, and while he had achieved success before his participation on the show, he battled against the label of “idol rapper,” which belittles those in the K-pop industry as “fake” rappers. Given that he persisted until the final rounds when no one expected a K-pop idol to even last on the show and that he played a significant role in writing the lyrics, “Drop” can be seen as a culmination of Lee’s efforts in breaking free from stereotypes and truly finding himself. Thus, I’ve always seen this song as a message of support.
By Anya Shukla
Even though Clement Kammwamba is currently stuck in the United States, unable to return to his home country, Malawi, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, he’s taking the time to improve his art. Kammwamba hopes to move away from drawing animals—such as the impeccably-detailed, hyper-realistic lions, tigers, and cheetahs that grace his Instagram page—and explore portraiture. "We’ll see how that goes,” he said, bashful. “I’m still in the process of improving my skills.” He’s selling himself short.