[OP-ED] The first ALL Black K-pop group 'Coco Avenue' is breaking history & K-pop standards

Nicole Swayne, Aug. 9, 2016, 9 p.m.

Starting off as only an underground YouTube channel, Coco Avenue is a hip-hop/R&B themed girl group, which came to life on March 25, 2013. And after three years, the group has accomplished quite a bit! Coco Avenue has performed for the KTown Night Market and has even been featured on the Mnet television series #mykpop, which drew more attention to the duo.

Coco Avenue, known for their talented YouTube covers, has covered various K-pop artists including 4MINUTE, CL, BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, Jay Park, and Taeyang.

After their first original single was released on July 27th, Coco Avenue is now stepping more into the spotlight and gaining more attention. Coco Avenue is comprised of all African-American members, which is making history as a first in Korea. Their first Korean single must have taken a long time time to master being that the group members are not native Korean speakers. Even still, TTMU is addictively catching and definitely replay worthy.

Most K-pop girl groups are required to maintain a certain look or image, which is evident in most music videos. Companies like JYP and SM Entertainment create groups when they have a certain image in mind. Some groups are known for being the crazy oddballs, the cute innocent girl group, the sexy bad boy group, or the always-changing group. K-pop groups range and can embody any concept - you name it. But, still, there is no group like Coco Avenue out there. Members Jenny and Jenna of Coco Avenue have a unique sound and together are vastly changing the K-pop world as we know it.

In Korea, there is a growing black population and a growing population of black K-pop fans. Yet, many members of this community often are misrepresented with negative stereotypes and are not always seen as embodying the “ideal” beauty. In many inspirational YouTube videos, people have shared their opinions on what it’s like being black in Korea and how their experiences have shaped who they are.

Coco Avenue is creating a name for themselves by frequently challenging cultural standards, and they’re a major inspiration for the aspiring black community in Korea. Jenna and Jenny each proved that they could make it in the K-pop industry regardless of their differences or what adversities they have faced. And if they can overcome this challenge, so can many other talented black artists in Korea.

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