Once pictures like the one above hit the internet, the outrage was almost instantaneous. It’s become such an issue in the country that this month, the South Korean government decided to step in and is investigating the incident. If he loses the case, G-Dragon faces a fine and up to a year in prison. His fans, including those who were at the concert, have started a petition in support of the pop star and the case is still pending. YG Entertainment, G-Dragon’s label, released an apology but otherwise no one involved with the incident has spoken about what happened. Until now.
The dancer being “dry humped” on stage by G-Dragon is Aimee Lee Lucas who happens to be a friend. I admit I know next to nothing about the Korean pop scene, but when I saw the stories and “offensive” photos of Aimee popping up online, well, I had to find out what really happened. Aimee was kind enough to hang out with me at a Starbucks on a rainy afternoon and talk publicly for the first time about the now infamous incident.
Although Aimee works as a dancer/choreographer for YG Entertainment, she’s not Korean. In fact, she’s a Filipina homegirl from the Bay Area, now living in L.A. Aimee studied ballet for 14 years before transitioning to hip-hop. And though she took her dancer training seriously, when she moved to L.A., the plan was to go to school and find a “real” job that had nothing to do with dancing. But when she tagged along with boyfriend Shaun Evaristo (also a dancer/choreographer) to a commercial audition, she ended up booking it herself and was soon dancing in an iPod ad.
Then, two years ago, Shaun was hired by YG to work with their artists in Korea and once the execs saw Aimee’s talent, they hired her too. Since then, she’s appeared in numerous concerts and videos with artists like Tae Yang and Big Bang. Here she is as the lead female dancer in Big Bang’s “Number One” video:
Video source: YGEntertainment
So when Aimee performed the “Breathe” number with G-Dragon and the aforementioned stand-up bed, it was just another normal bit. She flew back to L.A. the morning after the last concert thinking all was normal but by the time she landed, the controversy had broken out all over the internet in Korea.
“I was shocked when I heard what was happening,” Aimee says. “We performed two shows on a Saturday and Sunday. All the VIPs and big people came out on Saturday and no one said anything. During rehearsals, no one told us we were going too far and should hold back. So the reaction was surprising.”
Initially, the internet comments directed at “the dancer in the number” were critical (“what is that girl thinking doing that?”), but once Aimee was identified as the dancer, most of the negative comments stopped. In fact, during the whole controversy, everyone associated with the number from G-Dragon to YG has been targeted and vilified—except Aimee who is not facing any of the charges, fines or jail time. “I think it’s because I’m American,” she says. “I’ve been told from the start that I’ll be treated differently because I’m American and that’s been the case.”
Here’s a clip of the offending bit shot by a fancam. Judge for yourself if you think it’s obscene:
Video source: damjes07 credits for daum TV
ETA: Clearer fancam:
Video source: TYPICALpocky7
When she first started performing in Korea, Aimee was surprised by the rabid, (very) young and female fan base of the K-Pop acts who would appear in the form of large mobs everywhere she and the musicians went. “When I became the lead dancer opposite Tae Yang, people joked with me that they were surprised I wasn’t dead,” she says, “that the fans didn’t come after me with pitchforks for doing what they all dreamed of doing with him.”
To understand the controversy, one must first understand the K-Pop scene. If Big Bang is like the Korean N’Sync with its more innocent and tween friendly music, G-Dragon is its Justin Timberlake—pursuing a solo career to explore more “adult” subject matter. His first solo album “Heartbreaker” was deemed inappropriate for children because of the lyrical content of several songs like “She’s Gone” (sample offensive lyric: “If I can’t have you, I’ll kill you.”). The songs are pretty tame by our standards; the content of an American pop song like Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” is downright pornographic compared to G-Dragon’s music (and I’m sure G-Dragon won’t be doing the Korean equivalent of this anytime soon). But because of the concert controversy, a new “investigation” has also been launched regarding the appropriateness of his album.
So here’s Aimee’s explanation of what happened:
Before the first creative meeting for the concert, Aimee was already thinking of ideas for the different numbers. Since the imagery of a bed was so strong in “Breathe,” she thought it would make sense to incorporate that into the piece. “At the meeting, G-Dragon had pretty much the same idea to do something around a stand-up bed,” she says. “He likes to let loose and push boundaries. Everyone agreed so that’s what we worked on.”
“There was no humping,” she continues. “If you watch the (footage), the whole bit lasts only a few seconds. He straddles me for a bit, we do some ‘acting’ and then we’re done. I had to lift myself (on the stand-up bed) and hang there and support all my body weight with my arms. I could only do that for a couple of seconds so there wasn’t any time to do any humping.”
Aimee thinks the controversy erupted because the first images to be posted online were photos of her hanging from the bed straddling G-Dragon with her legs wrapped around him which could be misinterpreted when seen out of context. By the time video footage from the concert hit the web a few days later, the damage had already been done. Since she left for America right after the concert, she hasn’t talked to G-Dragon about the incident but has heard from others at YG that he seems to be doing fine.
So is it just me or is this a ridiculous attempt by an artist-unfriendly government led by President Lee Myung-bak (who derogatorily referred to filmmakers as “hippies”) to make an example of a pop star in the name of family values? Aren’t there more pressing issues in the country to be worried about?
Source: Philip @ YouOffendMeYouOffendMyFamily