Episode 1

Jinju's GOT7... The Final?

A3Day Sister Show is the less filtered companion to Multifacetedacg Presents: An Album a Day. This podcast will cover various aspects of the Hallyu Wave and provide both factual and opinionated commentary from me and invited guests. From long-form rants and history lessons to storytimes and interviews, please enjoy the show!

I know what you’re here for but I can’t start off with that yet. In fact, I pre-recorded what I had to say but had to go back and make changes based on new information. Hold on, Ahgase, we’ll get there. And don’t take the Clare Berry Kate approach and call it “no fun,” I’m not Jinyoung and this isn’t V Live. The first thing for this debut episode is to share the stories of listeners and supporters of the show. I’m holding your ears hostage for much longer than An Album a Day does, so let not your diminishing attention span lead you towards missing out. Sister Show is nothing like its sibling!

[Guest Audio]

This debut episode is sponsored by Melophile Candles, a brand creating ambiance for music lovers with aromatic candles. Visit www.melophilecandles.com to join the mailing list and follow the Instagram account @melophilecandles for updates.

Timestamp this so you can quote me later: I’m genuinely not pressed. Business is business and there’s minimal room for feelings in business. I had moments in 2017 and 2018 where I was hittin’ that Parks and Recreation series finale remix, “Don’t get to cussin’” but I’m good! I have some thoughts, some opinions -- a mild diatribe -- some rambling that I want to do. I’m not on any Korean entertainment company’s payroll, despite the efforts, so it’s cool. That’s all.

Allow me to toss on my professional voice, less twang, and more midwest local radio reporter.

I am a grown, Black American female fan of K-pop who built a brand off the back of my antics on YouTube. I celebrated my eighth year of being an online content creator on January 13, 2021. That isn’t a credential, per se, but just a few hours shy of my first YouTube anniversary, I uploaded my first video reaction to “Girls Girls Girls”, the debut song from JYP Entertainment’s then newest idol group, GOT7. From that moment on, assuming the role of one of their most supportive international noona fans, I created over 150 videos dedicated to them, some of which are no longer publicly available online.  I loved them from the very beginning -- before that beginning, actually -- and have cheered them on from concert venue rafters, press-pass sidelines, and online on two continents. 

I’ve purchased or received their Korean works and fan items, I’ve reported on their performance quality for multiple American publications, and I’ve had an acknowledgment of some sort from each member, particularly BamBam telling me who knew who I was because of YouTube. I roll hard for their individual and collective success. I keep up with pride, and not for some superficial reason. These men owe me nothing. I keep up because their works brought a lot of joy into my life and what they share of themselves with consumers is a reflection of the type of people I like being around. Likewise, I keep up because I’m a music journalist and commentator on the goings-ons of the Korean popular music scene.

This is why I can say with complete confidence and no regrets, that though I’m pissed at how this final chapter in the history books on my boys was started, I love the ending. This is justice, fangirl feelings aside, and I’ll explain how and why. Today’s episode isn’t soft. In some ways, this is a damn read -- not in the way that the Black LGBTQA+ community intends, but in the way of the Oxford English dictionary: an interpretation of something. 

Regardless of how you interpret it, reading is fundamental. Let’s begin.

On January 16, 2014,GOT7 officially made their debut into the entertainment industry, making waves in multiple countries around the world. And between 2017 until this week’s announcements, dams were placed around them and the waves stopped. They charted, they V Live app’d, they toured, they regularly did individual activities -- oop, that’s not all the way true since everyone didn’t have the option. Let’s start again. They charted, they V Lived app’d, they did YouTube videos comfortably -- oop, that’s… there’s video evidence of Division 2 treating them like shit. Okay! Again, I say. They charted, they V live app’d, they legitimately grew musically, diversifying their sound with every new album -- that’s a damn lie. That’s a lie, that is a lie!

Love our guys as much as you want, I GOT7s, but they haven’t released a new album since 2017’s “7 for 7.” The same production quality, beyond title tracks, is not progression. The same vocal commands of singing in keys that haven’t adjusted themselves to accommodate men, not rookie year boys, is not progression. You know you hear it, you know it. This isn’t coming solely from the space of me having nerd-like capacities about music -- beyond their voices being distinct to those of us who are fans, their songs have somewhat blended together. There are some differences, but not enough after that year. Numbers don’t lie -- they moved units -- but that’s easy to do when there’s redundancy. Their production wings were being clipped. 

“But Ashley, they’re writing and producing the later albums! There were many after that! You’re not a real fan!!” Try JYP, not me, cuz I throw production hands and all I have access to is Garageband and a little website called Bandlab and give you musical colors of the rainbow. I’ve grown faster than paid professionals in a professional setting with professional equipment from the comforts of the lid of my toilet seat as an indie producer. Pause. This isn’t a breakdown of their discography but when we get there, I’m tearing it apart, respectfully.

These are not limitations from seven creative artists, but from the label that built them and had the greatest hand in attempting to tear them down. The paper trail is sadly impressive -- there’s countless threads, videos, and YouTube personalities with far greater followings than that of my own who brought attention to the negligence of GOT7. I don’t want to harp on it here, because in the end, they brought about their own form of justice. Being smart in business allowed them to close this chapter of their story fully.

So what does it mean to be smart in business, you ask? 

First, ownership. The greatest concern for fans and the greatest interest for spectators was whether or not the group was disbanding. When formal news stated that they have ownership of their group name, sounds of rejoicing should’ve been audible. Learning from groups who came before them and their international appeal, we will never know if that influenced such negotiations pre-debut, but owning their name allows them to do as they please, when and how they please. It doesn’t matter if they’re on different labels. It has not stopped Ravi from representing VIXX, three members of Girls’ Generation from declaring themselves still as members, or much closer to home, JYP Entertainment’s 2PM, who were announced this week to be making a full member comeback despite Taecyeon leaving the label in 2018.

Second, partnership. Training as kids and being together in business as a seven-member team, a positive partnership triumphs over hardships. If the issues were amongst the team, a business partner would have withdrawn at this point. There’s no label legally holding them accountable to one another now. They are true friends and brothers in spirit, yes, but they are strong business partners. What can be gained for them by learning from Jackson? Has he not made freaking moves? I so wished that they would’ve formed a division of their own with Team Wang but there are limitations in that, which leads me to the third aspect of smart business: creative freedom.

Now that they are genuinely untethered, each member will have the freedom to learn new techniques, promotional skills, and explore facets of themselves as entertainers, artists, and individuals that will surely bring them together for something amazing. It won’t look nor sound like the system they were a part of because the influences will be varied. 

The flipside to this is the long-standing history of past JYP roster members having positive things to say about the label and/or JYP himself. There might be a moment before GOT7 gets around to those same sentiments.

First, Division 2, with their publicly rude and dismissive asses. For those unaware, JYPE provides a team to the artists to manage their bookings, promotions, and other needs. I don’t believe any to be more notorious of the four than Division 2, which was GOT7’s handlers and still is ITZY’s team. Entertain and frustrate yourself with a Google or YouTube search of GOT7 Division 2, I’ll wait. You’re back? Annoying, right?! We can only speculate that the group made their concerns known but if they’re the only group complaining and every other group is doing well… or even aight… then the problem looks like GOT7 and not Division 2. They are a part of the wedge that pushed this group from their original nest and set its members off to fly in different directions. These limitations from Division 2 jeopardized their commitment.

Second, withholding opportunities won’t have them reconciling anytime soon. Mark didn’t get to grow any farther than a magazine cover. Beyond Laws of the Jungle, he was always featured in another member’s starring role. Yes, that’s it I GOT7, swoop in to object by saying our senior member just has a calmer personality. This is true but we don’t know how he could’ve excelled if opportunities weren’t limited. And don’t get me started on Youngjae, that amazing ball of sunshine who had to wait so damn long for the opportunity to write a title track. I’m biting my fingernails in anticipation of his eventual solo work. He barely needed training and development vocally, having the shortest trainee window, so you already know he has it in him. You know who wouldn’t allow that “It” to shine through? Mmm’hmm. Again, this is just a fan’s speculation, I’m just…

Jackson “I used to be your vitamin but you can seek that shit elsewhere” Wang has not smiled since the Flight Log era came to a close. While some of this has to do with growing up and having a shift in maturity, it was also a shift in his capacity limits for the b.s. Chinese variety show Jackson Wang, U.S.A. promotional Jackson Wang, and South Korean idol group member Jackson Wang look the same but all move differently. Only one of those locations is like a wedgie so far up the crack of his muscular ass that he has said as little as possible this whole ordeal. He’s spiritually chafed. Again, this is just a fan’s speculation, I’m just…

Bambam is the only one I believe to genuinely uphold the ideals of Savage7 and possibly, tongue-in-cheek, continue to express some type of feelings about the dismantling of their group via social media. I support it and you, Double B. If Jinyoung had the time he might chime in, but you gotta respect the fact that he makes time for none of this!

And I wish with all my ashy, American, petty-ass might that both JB and Yugyeom find a home at AOMG and/or H1ghr Music or anything else with former 2PM leader, former annoyance to JYP himself, Jay Park. Let them get their R&B on. Let JB have everybody pressed as hell with his lyric choices and his voice and angry dancing face. Let Yugyeom live out his Chris Brown dreams and then quickly maybe introduce him to other artists who don’t have as much of a tumultuous background? Please?! The Giant Baby needs additional influences!

I’m glad that we no longer have to see pictures of them looking emotionally tired in photos. I’m glad that we no longer have to create Photoshop and Canva fan art that promotes them better than their assigned team did for comebacks. And I know Canva is an option because I submitted work to the label during a global search for someone to work with the artists and damn near designed their last album’s cover. I knew the risks of creative infringement! Think I’m lying, contact me and I’ll share proof. It’s already floating somewhere in a tweet anyway.

They legally lasted as a JYP Entertainment idol group for 7 years. For any other group, it would be the 7-year curse of the K-pop industry but for my boys… the young men who I will continue to run along with until the absolute, for real-for real very ends… this was for the best. That 7 is for luck and I wish them all the best. Thank you for being a part of the soundtrack of my life. On to the next chapter.

Bye y’all.

About the Podcast

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A3Day Sister Show
Hallyu Storytimes & Musings

About your host

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Ashley Griffin

Ashley "Multifacetedacg" Griffin is a diverse content creator. Since 2013, she's specialized in Hallyu Wave entertainment, with an emphasis on K-pop and music production commentary.