Capturing the Heart of South Korea with Afrobeats Rhythms

by Abigail Agbottah

What may have begun as an inadvertent expression of one’s culture via song and dance with Afrobeats Rhythms has become deeply ingrained in people’s hearts, particularly capturing the hearts of South Koreans who may be intolerant of diversity.

Afrobeats Rhythms have permeated Korea’s tightly closed culture, influencing artists, dancers, and social media content creators.

The majority of South Koreans now embrace many cultures instead of adhering to a limited racial definition of identity. Many thanks to cross-border political ties, inter-racial partnerships, and social media exposure to diverse cultures—Afrobeats music and dance included.

Here are a few of the artists and influencers that have incorporated Afrobeats into their culture via dance and music:

South Korea’s Most Famous Afrobeat Dancer Choi Yujin (최유진)

Choi Yujin’s enthusiasm for Afobeat began when she stumbled upon Yemi Alade’s song “Johnny” while looking for music for a collaborative workshop. She became interested in Afro-dance, considering it was the first time she had heard Afro-Pop music.

“I’m the first female Afrobeat dancer who started Afro-dance in Korea, and I brought the Ghanaian Afro-dance style called ‘Azonto’ to Korea,” she said in an interview with Honorary Reporters Winner Abel & Winnie Abel from Nigeria.

She added that she is the first dancer of Asian descent to work with an Afrobeat musician. In addition, she worked with “A-Star” to release the song “Skibo” in 2020 while she was in London. According to Choi Yujin, Burna Boy is her favourite artist due to his upbeat songs. One day, she hopes to perform with Burna Boy. 

South Korea’s Artist B.I 

Afrobeats have piqued the curiosity of South Korean rapper Kim Hanbin, better known by his stage name B.I.

During an interview on GQ South Africa with Korean pop journalist Ella Okunmwendia, the 26-year-old rapper and record producer revealed this.

It is indisputable that African K-pop fans’ strong cultural connection to B.I.’s songs contributed to his popularity. Among his releases is the Afrobeat-infused song “BTBT,” featuring Soulja Boy and DeVita. His song has since been played on radio stations in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

South Korea’s Artist Penomeco

Bolo is an Afrobeat song released by South Korean musician Jeong Dong-uk, popularly known as Penomeco. One might detect that the musician imitated Wizkid’s song Ginger, which featured Burna Boy. 

Furthermore, the term “Bolo” that is frequently used in his song is a Yoruba word for “fool”. He also used the Igbo word “Omalicha”, which means “Beauty”. 

With over 9.2 million views on YouTube alone, his 2021 afro-beat-inspired song has gone viral on the video-sharing app Tiktok.

Check out some of his fan’s thoughts shared on YouTube.

@jeonyn5117 I just found this song and now I’m obsessed THIS SONG DESERVES MORE RECOGNITION

@tamolive4392 When mixing cultures is done right. It’s a beautiful thing. This song is FIRE!!

@mi_trix3876 As a Nigerian, I 100% approve. Penomeco, one of the few Kpop artists that appreciates other cultures properly, he’s won my heart

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