Highlighting two amazing young African-American women who’ve ditched the limitations of their home country that come with being women – and black, to reap opportunities that South Korea has to offer them – despite the obvious challenges. They’ve adopted the Korean culture and language which makes them blend in, yet they’re using their ‘blackness’ to their advantage – to stand out! Painting a positive outlook of their experience by celebrating their differences in a predominantly homogeneous country, challenging stereotypes and essentially being the change makers that will allow for a more tolerant society… And for this it has to be said; Black Girls Rock Korea!
I hung out with Janelle; a party-planner from California, and Maja (마자 nickname meaning ‘correct’ in Korean); a freelance producer and education consultant from Chicago, on a night out in Hongdae for a taste of Seoul’s hip-hop culture at Brown club. Here’s what the two friends had to say about being Black in Korea.
“Being a black woman in Korea is a great opportunity to wrestle with being an “other” in a way that is more of a whisper in your ear in the States. When you’re in Korea you are visibly other, and you can clearly see the cons and sometimes pros of that. I think living in Korea has allowed me to celebrate my melanin in a way I never did before. I am consciously aware of who I am and have pressed against the grain to want to erase that “otherness”. Melanin power!” – Janelle. Follow Janelle’s journey in Korea on Instagram @SeoulSurfing
“Being Black in Korea is an “opportunity” for me. All of the things I wanted to do in the US, for a black person just seemed so impossible. The first week I arrived here, I was able to jump right into what I wanted. People wanted to see my work, audition me and know my ideas. My creative process is on a completely different level! Traveling as a black woman has its many downs, but for the most part, I’m able to see so much more of the world than I could while in the States; which makes it all the more worth it.” – Maja. Follow Maja’s journey in Korea on Instagram @MajaDaeWang, Blog whoismaja.blog.me and Youtube Maja Cho
Look out for “Brown Seoul: Hip-Hop culture in South Korea’s capital” post coming next!
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