Popular hip-hop singer Tiger JK said he has often encountered racism in South Korea just like he did in the United States.
Appearing on the MBC nightly talk show "Mureuppak Gru" hosted by comedian Kang Ho-dong Wednesday, Tiger JK said he was shocked by racial remarks uttered by Koreans about his African American colleague rapper who came here and performs with him.
"I returned to Korea in the late 1990s for the first time in about 10 years. At that time, I heard that Korea is a nation of etiquette that welcomes everybody," he said. "But it was not. I came across racism here too. I was often told by many Koreans not to go along with the 'nigger.' It was a shock."
Tiger JK (real name: Seo Jung-kwon), the founder of hip-hop group Drunken Tiger, immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with his family. He later witnessed the violence between Korean-Americans and blacks during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.
The rapper has been an outspoken critique of racism.
He once had beef with American rapper Ice Cube who was critical of Koreans in his controversial song "Black Korea." The lyrics of the song, released one year before the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, describe how Korean-Americans are rude to blacks. In response, he and other Korean rappers released "Call Me Tiger."
Tiger JK formed Drunken Tiger in 1998.
Rubber Ring Proposal
During the program, he also revealed how he proposed to his wife and popular singer Yoon Mi-rae.
"At that time, I was too poor to buy a ring so I proposed with a rubber ring. After I served supper to her, I kneeled and told her, 'Please, be with me forever as I will later change this rubber ring to a real ring you want."'
He recalled that Yoon broke into tears at the proposal he thought was far from romantic. "She looked so endearing. So, we went to a traditional market and bought 25,000-won fake rings."
On the proposal, Yoon, who was invited to the show as a surprise guest, said, "It was okay as I had no fantasy about marriage and a firm belief that we would be together for our entire lives."
He also talked about how he battled and overcame transverse myelitis in 2006.
Source: The Korea Times