The Scale Of K-pop Fandom Philanthropy
When it comes to claiming the most loyal and supportive fans in the world, you are going to have a battle on your hands between the many fans of the world. When it comes to who is the most giving, the award has to go to K-pop fandoms. The now-legendary birthday celebrations are just the start. These fans take philanthropy to a whole new level as they raise substantial funds for those in need.
K-pop fans also provide massive donations to charitable causes
Their dedication to a cause is intense and sincere. Specific fandoms adopt charities and causes close to the hearts of those they adore. When they see their idols expressing their support for a specific cause, or undertaking charity work, they work to multiply the results of their efforts. One interesting example comes from the activities of EXO member Suho, who posts pictures of himself wearing merch that supports an ALS charity in Korea. His fans see this and buy the same products to show support - and quickly causing the charity to run out of the item. There are similar stories throughout the fandom of supporters being inspired to do more because of their passion for their K-pop boy or girl band member of choice.
Then there is the scale of the donations, which is said to total over 1 billion Korean won per year. One of the most active organizations is “Danity,” which is a fan organization that supports Kang, Daniel. They have built a popular website and raised 12.1 million won (about US$10,000) for the Miral Welfare Foundation to celebrate Mr. Kang’s birthday in 2018.
Back in 2017, BTS supporters, also known as the "BTS ARMY" raised thousands for Unicef. Even further back, in 2012, the Taiji Mania fan group raised around $35,000 for the World Land Trust. In addition to giving monetary donations, K-pop fans have been known to volunteer to set up schools, work on blood drives, and participate in various other community projects.
K-pop’s philanthropic efforts support equality
This year, BTS gave US$1 million to the Black Lives Matter campaign. The more remarkable thing about this is that their BTS ARMY supporters - beat that by a substantial amount, raising over US$ 1.2 million with their own fundraising efforts.
K-pop fans across the world know that they have power in numbers. One notable example of this has been the way fans have taken over hashtags on Twitter. For example, when antagonistic and potentially racist slogans began to appear as a counter to #BlackLivesMatter, they stepped in. They flooded the hashtags with images and videos of their favorite stars, burying the hate and making the hashtag all but worthless.
Why K-pop fans?
You might ask why K-pop fans? What is so special about this group that makes them so keen to get involved and make such a difference compared to fans of other genres? The reason may come down to the sense of community that lies at the heart of this fan base. Coming together online from around the world to celebrate the artists of an otherwise relatively small country with a small population, the “Korean Wave” gives both the fans and the country a level of influence that punches well above its expected weight. The fans support and educate each other, with many K-pop fans coming from regularly oppressed minority groups, including black Americans and LGBTQ+ community members.
K-pop fans have more than proven their ability to effect positive change against injustice, hunger, and poverty, providing signs that intense fandom can lead to a beneficial psychological and sociological outlet. But as Uncle Ben, Spider Man's uncle, once said, "with great power comes great responsibility." And as long as K-Pop idols continue to promote positive intentions, the world will become a better place.