How K-pop girl group LOONA pushes for women empowerment in 'Butterfly'
"It starts with a small flap" is the message of the 12-member band’s video for latest single "Butterfly".
K-pop girl group LOONA has been making headlines worldwide for the music video of their latest single “Butterfly,” which charted on Billboard. The video created buzz on social media since its released last February 19.
When K-pop mania is everywhere, though, what exactly sets LOONA and its latest song and video apart?
It’s ambitious and risk-taking, this girl group that is LOONA (stylized as LOOΠΔ) or Idalui Sonyeo (이달의 소녀), which translates to “Girl of the Month.” The group first created a stir in underground K-pop back in 2016 when the agency, Blockberry Creative (BBC), announced that it would go against the usual K-pop group debuts. It said it would not debut the talents as a group but as individuals – one by one – grouping them into 3 sub-units along the way, until all 12 members were completed.
(Ed's note: "Debut" is the term used when a K-pop group is officially launched to the public)
This was a rather gutsy move from an unknown and fairly new agency. People back then were divided over the way LOONA was being promoted. Some praised them and their agency for going against the flow of the industry. Some also praised them for the time, effort, and money they put into creating their individual songs and music videos. Most of the songs have well-known local and international producers, and videos had high-budget productions, filmed in countries like France, Iceland, Japan, and the United States.
Some, however, were skeptical about introducing individuals when it was K-pop groups that were in demand all over the world.
LOONA debuted as a whole, 12-member group in August 2018 with their songs “Hi High” and “favOriTe.” By then, the popularity of the individual talents had steadily risen and combined to boost the group’s name.
The group and its agency are not only known for their high-quality and rather high-budget, aesthetically-pleasing music videos but also for being one of the few K-pop groups that tell interconnected stories in their videos, promotions, and even songs. Their fans, called “Orbits,” call this concept the “Loonaverse.”
In their music video for “Butterfly,” the group takes a step back from this approach and instead puts in the spotlight issues of self-acceptance and empowerment. You don’t usually see that in K-pop, especially from a group that’s only released its second single.
Filmed in South Korea, Paris, Hong Kong, Iceland, and the US, the music video features ordinary women and their conditions in whichever country they come from. They represent different profiles, backgrounds, cultures, and religions. The music video highlights these women, more than the LOONA members, in a clear message of strength in their “flaws” and “weaknesses,” of pride in who they are.
The music video’s description says, “LOONA causes a Butterfly effect through music for the listeners to gain courage, find oneself, and raise one’s voice. Anyone under influence is another LOONA.”
“Butterfly” is just a first step. Again, it is a small flap of a pair of wings. But if a big K-pop name like LOONA can choose to be a inspiring and empowering voice for women, why can’t the rest of their fans?
So, what are we waiting for? Fly like a butterfly and Stan LOONA! – Rappler.com