When I woke up yesterday I was met with the saddest news of this year. The death of Kim Jonghyun. It was something I couldn’t believe. I thought it was some bad joke from the Naver community. He was in the prime of his life, successful and most of all seemed happy.
His group, Shinee, had successfully crossed into the overseas market and he himself had his own radio show and composing career. More then that, he had one of those voices that touched a person. Thinking about all of this just hurt my heart more.
And then I heard it was suicide. My heart broke. I remembered how Shinee was the only Kpop group that I saw their debut. How much I played the song on repeat and how it was one of the first Kpop songs I was able to share with my friends that they liked too. Even though I didn’t like their recent music, Shinee would always have a place in my heart. It was one of my first connections with people I had.
They seemed so strong and happy within a notoriously unhealthy environment. They were dedicated and able to retain the positive. But they were also showmen and they were able to make us not know we were wrong. None of us saw how much he was a gentle and caring individual. And that really hurts. Because individuals like that can be rare and deserve the support they need.
We all know how bad the Kpop community can be. Unhealthy work hours, lack of deserved money, intensely scary environments with sasaeng fans, the intense pressure from the Korean society as a whole, a lack of the ability to be an individual and all for the fame and the love of music. It’s an extremely hard environment to thrive in, let alone remain happy. Yet, we are so slow as fans to help change it. Because we don’t want to give up the continuous performances and fan interactions from the idols. So we ignore the the things that come out about the companies and the struggles of those in the community. We fucking suck.
I can’t help feeling like I put Kpop in a weird an untouchable bubble. I had a rough emotionally abusive at times childhood. So many hours were spent alone. The weird childhood I had of Korean cartoons, trot music and the early stages of Kpop helped me retain some sense of pride in myself and connection to something in the world. I felt like a good person to understand and be part of something that wasn’t my community. You could go into my room and Finkl’s Blue Rain would be playing as I forced myself to spend my free time studying so hard to make my parents happy. And even though I am a huge advocate of speaking out about Mental Health in your community I put Kpop separate from that. I knew it was wrong and I didn’t care. And now an important musician lost their life to that behavior of mine…of ours.
We ignored the problem and it lead someone to lose a fight he never should of had to do.
He begged the world, his family and friends to let him go from a company that could only say sorry about tragic news coming from out of nowhere.
Jonghyun couldn’t feel even his breathing anymore. And all we can do is put roses in front of a grave.
Kim Jonghyun you will be missed. I pray you find the peace you were denied in this life in your lives to come.
Once a Shawol always a Shawol,