Big Bang's hip-hop influences are no secret - the group members have often sported urban wear and have rarely released a song that did not contain original rap lyrics from either T.O.P or G-Dragon.
Perhaps this is the reason why many fans expressed disappointment with Big Bang's Taeyang recently, after he posted an Instagram video of himself as Kanye West (using a facial simulator app), screaming year of the monkey in celebration of Lunar New Year.
It seems harmless for some, but Big Bang's Black international fans pointed out immediately that the racial stereotype of Black people being associated with monkeys is something he should have been aware of.
As a result, Taeyang issued the following apology on a separate video of himself as fellow group member T.O.P.
"I read all the comments and I am very sorry to anyone who had bad feelings about the last post which is now deleted. I didn't know some people would think that way but it is totally my fault and I take responsibility. I did not mean it that way and I hope you guys understand that. I'm sorry again and I will never make this kind of mistake again. I hope you guys will forgive me," said Taeyang.
Questions surrounding racism in K-pop have been long standing, seeming to resurface once a year when idols attempt to employ humor though Black face or clothing styles that veer dangerously close to cultural appropriation.
Though many fans don't believe that Big Bang's Taeyang is indeed racist, some are still disappointed by the continued ignorance of Black culture from artists that otherwise appear to appreciate it.
"Ignorance isn't anything new in the Korean entertainment industry, but I'm glad idols are being called out for their ignorant actions and able to grow from them. Through his apology, we can hope that he understands why the post is racist," said Stephanie (via TheOneShots).