Watch this Path-Breaking K-pop Video from LGBT Artist Holland
South Korea’s first openly-gay K-pop idol’s new single “I’m Not Afraid” celebrates diversity and self-acceptance
After a powerful debut earlier in January with his single “Neverland,” South Korea’s first openly gay K-pop idol Holland returns with a defiant new track “I’m Not Afraid.” Released on Friday, the song celebrates diversity and embracing one’s own identity. It’s a theme that echoes in the video for “Neverland” which saw Holland bravely put the spotlight on his sexuality with a same-sex kiss–an image rarely seen in the world of K-pop.
The colorful “I’m Not Afraid” video takes it to the next level, featuring several individuals and couples of different races and sexualities meeting for a party and having a great time together. The climax of the clip sees Holland and a man kiss while their friends keep dancing and talking around them; they are just an ordinary couple in love.
With a chorus that declares, “I’m not, not afraid anymore” and a thrumming Eighties synth-pop vibe, the song is an immediate earworm of positivity; not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for anyone having a hard time finding the strength to accept themselves.
Soon after the video’s release, Holland revealed that YouTube had given the clip an ‘R’ rating despite it featuring no explicit content. After protests from the singer’s fans on social media, YouTube released a statement saying, “The age-restriction was an error on our side and fixed this morning… Note: the initial restriction was related to prolonged kissing in the video, and not specific to LGBTQ content.” The video streaming platform has been criticized for their seemingly homophobic patterns of demonetizing content from LGBTQ+ creators and running anti-LGBTQ+ advertisements.
“Frankly, I don’t think my music video’s kissing scene is as stimulating as other straight music videos,” Holland commented on Twitter. “I think gay kisses are discriminated against.” Despite the restriction, “I’m Not Afraid” went on to hit one million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours after its release.
Holland was the first openly gay K-pop idol to debut while last year R&B artist MRSHLL (who debuted just last month with the single “Pose”) became the first singer to address his sexuality. Other celebrities out and proud in South Korea include trans model and actress Harisu and television personality/restaurateur Hong Seokcheon.