For MV Monday
today we are looking at a former variety show contestant and YG
trainee, Lee Michelle
. Lee Michelle
was one of the top 5 in Season 1 of K-Pop Star
in 2011. Following the show she signed with YG Entertainment
, training as part of the group Su:Pearls
. It is thought the solo success of fellow member Lee Hi
is the reason Su:Pearls
were disbanded and Lee’s
Last year she signed with DIMA Entertainment, the agency linked to her place of education, the Dong-Ah Institute of Media and Arts. On Friday Michelle released her debut single as a solo art, Without You.
Michelle, who is half Korean and half black, uses this as her subject for song and mv, featuring a young girl of the same ethnic background in her narrative.We watch the young girl walk along a small street, stopping to look at a piece of graffiti, much emphasis placed on the one person in the piece that is black.
Upon sensing she is being watched she runs from her invisible pursuers, locking herself out of harms way. It is in this rundown building that she draws across the walls in a large array of colours. The most notable image being a girl with a face in two different colours.
After completing her drawing the little girl goes on to put make up on her face, powder that is extremely pale in comparison to her complexion. This image is matched by Michelle, her too made up to look pale, to reflect her Korean heritage and hide her black genes.
The last scenes of the mv see the little girl throwing paint balloons at a wall-sized portrait of Michelle, in effect giving her multi-coloured skin, emulating the single cover-art.
Without You is about the discrimination faced by Michelle as an Afro-Asian in South Korea. This kind of discrimination isn’t uncommon even though the country has one of the higher populations of Afro-Asians across the continent following the American occupation of South Korea in the early fifties.Michelle’s musical commentary on her social struggles is not unlike Yoon Mirae’s. South Korea’s top female rapper, Yoon Mirae also known as Tasha Reid, has never kept the discrimination she has suffered as a half Korean half black female secret. Both her and husband Tiger JK often speak about racism and the need for change in the country.
Michelle’s Without You
is very reminiscent of Yoon Mirae’s
musical commentary on her struggle, Black Happiness.
You won’t be disappointed listening to this track, it is strong and emotional, and a great debut from Michelle.