KELCEY LORENZO WRITES – Block B’s Zico has recently come under fire after the release of his official solo debut music video “Tough Cookie” on November 6th. In the video, the rapper uses a homosexual slur and is seen wearing a jacket with a Confederate flag. The music video is also being criticized for misappropriation of African American culture as well as demoralizing women.

Many Korean fans praised Zico for his rapping, saying it puts him in “another class” of idol rappers, and tried to justify his use of the word “faggot.”  One Korean fan commented, “I was born and raised in America and that word ‘faggot’ is used commonly here…it’s used more to call someone a loser or a ‘babo’ (idiot)…”

While some Korean fans did criticize “Tough Cookie” for being culturally insensitive, an overwhelmingly large amount of the disapproval came from International K-Pop fans through the comment sections of YouTube and other online news outlets. International fan reactions to the video and song were not positive.  “…Imagine it if Zico wore the Japanese imperial flag instead of the confederate flag, Koreans won’t let this pass. Fans defend him so much when they don’t have any idea why. It might not be a big of a deal for you, but for some it is…” stated one commenter. Another netizen wrote, “…I think he crossed the line a bit too much this time. I like Zico, he’s a good rapper but there’s a thing called being insensitive and it’s not okay….”

On November 11th, Seven Seasons, Zico’s music label, released an official statement apologizing for the song’s offensive lyrics.  If he’s not more careful in the future, Zico’s tough cookie persona may just crumble…