K-pop is on the rise worldwide. Recently, the South Korean boy band Lionesses announced that they are the first group to have members who are openly gay. Watch their colourful debut video here.
In South Korea, too, LGBTQ representation is on the rise, albeit in small steps. Only a handful of well-known artists are openly queer, including rapper Aquinas, singer Kwon Do Woon, pop idol Holland and Lady, a trans girl group. But not before has there been a boy band that is openly queer: Lionesses.
The four members of Lionesses are ‘out, loud & proud’ and this week they shared their debut single, aptly named ‘Show Me Your Pride’. The uptempo song is about the struggles that LGBTQ’s in South Korea face in terms of homophobia and loneliness before they finally found their own ‘tribe’.
Boyband member Bae Dam-jun tells TW News that the theme of the single is ‘We are us’. The band name is full ‘Lionesses of the Plains of Savannah’ and he explains: “Many people think of African nature as a male lion with a long mane. But in reality, it is the lionesses who call the shots together.”He continues: “If every LGBTQ makes a fist against abuses, we are strong together. Our music contains a message for everyone struggling with themselves: we want to be there for you. With us as a group, you can take on the world.”
In the music video for ‘Show Me Your Pride’, the four men wear cat-shaped masks that one of them takes off at the end of the song as if he is experiencing a coming-out of sorts.
The song was created with support from activist South Korean organisation Beyond the Rainbow Foundation’s Ivan City Queer Cultural Fund, which advocates for greater representation of LGBTQ in South Korean popular culture.