Korean American rapper Jay Park posted a music video for his remix of Kendrick Lamar's 2017 hit "DNA" on Monday, featuring several South Korea–based artists rapping about being proud to be South Korean.
But people said it missed the mark and called Park out for cultural appropriation, pointing out some of the rappers had Afros, braids, and dreadlocks. It didn't match up with the lyrics of the song, some people said.
"So DNA remix is about being proud Koreans...yet they're cosplaying as Black American people and are using Black American culture constantly...interesting," one person wrote.
On Wednesday, Park posted a lengthy YouTube comment addressing the criticism and admitted his public relations representative did not want him to post the music video.
"Black and Latino people created Hip Hop," he wrote. He added that hip-hop makes him feel empowered and that a lot of his heroes are Black rappers.
"Having a certain hairstyle or look gives us confidence and inspiration and makes us feel like rockstars and it's because it's what we see and hear it feels natural to us," Park said.
Park is the first Asian American to be signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation. He also came under fire last month and apologized to Muslim fans after comparing himself to Allah in a lyric.
In his response to the "DNA" remix video, he also addressed the blowback about Korean rappers having dreadlocks. "Do I think it's ok for Korean rappers to have dreads? I might not necessarily agree with it but who am I to say don't do that," he said.
People disagreed with Park's statement, especially the part where he said, "If y'all can fangirl over young Korean dudes with dyed hair I don't see why we cant fanboy over rappers with face tats and dreads."
Perhaps the only person who came out of the saga looking like they understood the issue was Park's "PR Julie," who had told him not to post the video.
Julie, a New York–based strategist, tweeted to thank everyone for their support.
"I've dedicated my career to uplifting both the hip hop and Asian community and I will continue to do so while holding those around me accountable & pushing dialogues," she said.