[OP-ED] Minzy is officially OUT of 2NE1 - is it wrong to say we're not surprised?

S. Jin, April 5, 2016, 12:29 p.m.

[Disclaimer: This piece reflects the opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of Koogle TV. Please read with discretion.]

The K-pop world is currently in a frenzy as YG Entertainment finally released word on rumors about member Minzy's departure from the group. After Blackjacks anxiously awaited the news of whether Minzy was staying or hittin' the road, YGE broke millions of hearts by confirming that Minzy has indeed decided to fly solo - but is it wrong if we said we're not surprised?

YG Entertainment seems to have attempted to ease the blow by reporting that with the power group's contracts' expiration date coming up, Minzy decided not to renew her contract, unlike her three other members, Park Bom, CL, and Dara, who have decided to stay on board and promote as a trio. The former-quartet has lost their star dancer, and not to mention, one of their solid vocalists. It seems that YGE wanted to assure fans that despite Minzy's decision to leave 2NE1, the group would not disband, nor would they face the dreaded possibility of adding a new member. In fact, YG made it pretty clear in their official statement that they would NOT be looking to fill Minzy's void. However, the sore spot for Blackjacks may not really be that someone might take Minzy's place, but rather that Minzy won't be in her place any longer.

Although I'm just as heartbroken as any other Blackjack, I can't say I was totally shocked to hear the news of her departure - especially after YG's announcement yesterday that they'd explain the situation soon, which was honestly an indirect way of saying, "Yes, the rumors are true, but we need to stall and come up with the best way to relay the bad news without having pitchfork-wielding-protestors kicking down our doors."

Judging by a quick analysis of some comments left on Minzy's SNS accounts, it's pretty clear how Minzy's fans feel.

However, can we blame her? I saw one (assumed) fan simply, but brutally write, "Selfish, bye," on the starlet's Instagram, and truthfully, that's really unfair to her. I'm not saying I necessarily support Minzy's decision to leave 2NE1, because as a huge fan of the group since day 1, I really thought I was going to see 2NE1 last as a quartet for another 10 years. BUT I also don't blame her for not renewing her contract. If we're being really honest here, Minzy's talent and potential were rarely utilized nor amplified by YGE.

And yeah, I get the Korean mindset that if a member of a group is swept up in controversy, promotions for that member or even possibly the whole group may have to halt for a bit. But, isn't two years a bit much? Especially for a company that prides itself on promoting a very Americanized culture in music, and even especially more when CL was pushed for a U.S. debut and Dara was given many opportunities to do variety shows and dramas? It seems like Minzy had to really work hard on her own to continue to stay relevant, and again if I'm just being honest, to continue makin' that dough, which eventually also led to her launching her own dance studio. For the group's maknae, who's only 22 years old in U.S. age (mind you), this is quite a feat, yet I don't recall seeing that much support from YG.

After 2NE1's EPIC surprise stage at last year's MAMA, Blackjacks' hopes were reignited for an imminent comeback. And in a very un-YG-like fashion, only four short months later, fans got what they asked for - a 2NE1 comeback in the works, but oh yeah, SANS MINZY. I think it's safe to say that Blackjacks feel pretty robbed.

Minzy played some crucial roles in the group: 1) as the adorable maknae, 2) the representative dance machine, and 3) one of the most solid set of pipes on the team, so it's a bit of an understatement to say that Minzy's departure leaves behind quite a void.

Now, I'm not blaming YGE for anything, because in the end, it was Minzy's choice, but I think I speak for many of us when I say that things could've been handled better. I believe Yang Hyun Suk in his vision for YGE and when he says that he wants "to protect 2NE1 until the end, no matter what", but I wish this notion was executed for each individual member when Bom's unfortunate incident hit headlines. Then, maybe we could've all banded together, Blackjacks and YGE hand in hand, to protect 2NE1 to the end. Hang in there, Blackjacks.

What are your thoughts on Minzy's departure?

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