Here is the first of many in series of K-pop themed portraits: Minzy (AKA 민지) from the group 2ne1. I was pretty ignorant of 2ne1 and their contemporaries until I heard their guest spot on M-flo’s She’s so (Outta Control). The song became a great tune to loop whenever I was working on things like laundry or doing the dishes. It wasn’t until I saw the fan made video below that I decided to look up 2ne1 and what I saw was enough to send me off on a voyage to Korean pop wonderland.

As with M-flo, one of the dynamics of 2ne1 that I appreciate the most is the fluid way the group switches between Korean and English (in addition to Japanese and English). I think most people in the west would be shocked to learn how much English is peppered throughout mainstream music in South Korea and Japan, and just how accessible it all is. Codeswitching is such a rarity in mainstream western music that it sets off all sorts of happy electrodes in my brain when I hear it. It’s more than a novelty, it’s an aesthetic unto itself and contemporary groups like 2ne1 have taken full ownership of it while the rest of world catches up.

As a Mexican-American and self-identified Chicano negotiating language is a daily minefield that I navigate. I can’t help but feel envious that such codeswitching is so easily accepted in the eastern mainstream. There are musical acts that pull off multiple languages in the same song here in the west, Ana Tijoux and La Santa Cecilia being two of my favorites, but they are rare birds.

After watching countless 2ne1 videos on youtube I wanted to channel my newfound obsession into something creative. I knew that I wanted to start with a portrait of Minzy and one of her many looks from the Can’t Nobody video. Her skeletal Adidas tracksuit won out. She’s such a chameleon and I wanted to capture how tough Minzy looks in it.

I definitely want do continue this series but I’m looking for some direction. Should I do CL next? I have to admit that CL and Minzy are by far my two favorite members of the group.  I could also just make it a series about Minzy since she’s had so many amazingly different looks (I LOVE her look where she’s wearing a Tuxedo in the Can’t Nobody video). Any suggestions?




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