Before 2018, South Korea did not have an openly queer idol in its K-Pop industry. That was until early this year when Holland dropped his debut track, Neverland. It tackled the topics of being true to your identity, being comfortable with yourself, and the most shocking thing: same sex relationships.
Holland has gained fans around the world for pushing the boundaries in the K-Pop industry, especially considering that South Korea rarely addresses homosexuality head on in its popular culture.
I’m Not Afraid is an autobiographical anthem for Holland.
Despite this, his music video for Neverland is rated 19+, surprising as it only showed sweet and innocent gay romance. His newly released music video for his latest single, I’m Not Afraid is also treated the same with an R and 19+ rating. If Neverland was rated 19+ for being sweet and innocent, ‘I’m Not Afraid’ holds no reservations with its steamy but still safe-for-work content.
I’m Not Afraid is an autobiographical anthem for Holland. It boldly takes on ownership of his identity as he shares his fears, his journey to find himself, and how he encourages others to do the same and embrace their true selves.
The MV, which was released last July 6, contains a diverse cast featuring drag queens, people of different races, and people with multiple sexual orientations and identities. We rarely see this in K-Pop music videos; Holland really does lead the way ensuring that the LGBTQ+ community is represented in the industry.
It boldly takes on ownership of his identity as he shares his fears, his journey to find himself, and how he encourages others to do the same and embrace their true selves.
The song is smooth, retro-pop mixed with EDM. The MV also has a retro vibe, with couples partying and making out. It also features the queer K-Pop icon in a 15-second make-out session with a man.
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As of now, the majority of the South Korean public have a difficult time accepting the LGBTQ+ community. Considering that romantic interactions between K-Pop group members are subtly played up for what we can only speculate to be marketing tactics. But with Holland opening the door for future LGBTQ+ talents, let’s all hope that the Korean society (or better yet the whole world!) will become more accepting of the community.