K-pop fandom comes to campus

Still of the Board of the STU/UNB K-POP Community, Jay Harker and Toni Mills. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

The K-Pop community has reached Fredericton campuses as the STU/UNB K-Pop club continues to grow.

Founded by Toni Mills and Jay Harker, the club began in January of this year on the communication platform, Discord. Interest was immediately sparked around the two campuses.

As more discovered the community on campus, more discussion about the genre was sparked.

Mills said K-Pop is not entirely bubblegum pop, which refers to a subgenre of pop and rock music geared toward preteens and teenagers. Bubblegum pop is hinged on upbeat melodies, simple lyrics with sing-along choruses, and danceable rhythms. 

“The K-Pop that western countries know and western media knows is created for western media. It is very much what Billboard top-100 is going to like,” said Mills.

There is “K-Rap, K-R&B, think of any music genre, add a K, and you got it,” Mills said.

The club not only discusses the music itself on the online platform but the rich culture and entertaining lifestyle that accompanies the songs and bands.

Despite not yet having consistent in-person meetings, it is high on the list of club growth goals, such as choreography nights where members learn dance moves from K-Pop music videos. The group also wants to host time for bonding, going out for bubble tea and meeting other people.

“We eventually want to have in-person events,” said Mills.

The one aspect that Mills and Harker both believe is holding the club back from further growth is the assumptions around K-Pop that it is only the “bubblegum pop” style and is very different from the typical North American music style.

Despite the stigma that lies around K-Pop, the group is still determined to provide a safe space for everyone to discuss their interest in the culture, whether they are an expert in the topic or a complete beginner curious about the genre.

The group can be found on Instagram @stuunbkpop, and the link to join the Discord is in their bio.