#KStreetExclusive: The stars who share the love for K-Pop (Part 2)

In the second part of our interview, LMN Dance Crew shares how they balance their time between dancing and studying, while Jinho Bae talks about respect for differing cultures.

The Energetic LMN DANCE CREW

If it’s hip-hop, we can never go wrong with LMN Dance Crew! Created in 2013, this group has been among those who proudly represent the Philippines in competitions both locally and globally, including the World Hip Hop International, Dance Supremacy, and World of Dance Manila. The team is composed of about 50 active members—some already working, some still studying—and we caught up with nine of them after they challenged dancing to K-pop for the first time. Though still slightly breathless from the performance, they are still full of energy while answering our queries!

Since majority of this particular unit are still students, how do you balance your time between studying and dancing?

LMN: It’s actually about finding a common time and usually for us, it’s 8-11 PM. [The following morning,] may work and school pa.

Kaya naman?

LMN: Kinakaya! It’s our lifestyle. Sanay na kami.

Anyone here who is a K-pop fan?

LMN: (Points to member Kat) OG! Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, Blackpink, 2NE1. Pa-start pa lang ako sa BTS, eh. Dini-discover ko pa lang sila.

Is this the first time you danced to K-pop for a performance? And you usually perform hip-hop. How do you contrast between hip-hop and K-pop?

LMN: Yes! It’s really about the music. With K-pop, it’s a lot more energy. With hip-hop kasi, it transcends all categories of music, but with K-pop, there’s this common theme about it na parang happy vibe siya lagi.

If you are given the chance to collaborate with Korean artists, who would it be? Any particular song in mind?

LMN: BTS! Or Blackpink—Kill This Love!

There are many fans who try doing dance covers and start really getting on with dancing because of their love of K-pop. What can you tell about those people who want to really pursue dancing, and how can they succeed the way you do?

LMN: It’s really more like finding an outlet to train. As much as you can be passionate about dancing and [doing] it on their own, it’s so important to go through the foundation of everything. So they can go out there, take classes. Have fun with what they are doing.

The Enthusiastic JINHO BAE

Jinho may be Korean, but he is definitely Pusong Pilipino™! Growing up in the Philippines, he developed his love for OPM. He caught the attention of many for singing in Filipino despite his ethnicity, and was eventually able to release Tagalog singles. As he said, he is not trying to be K-pop because he is a fan just like the rest of us. But more than that, he is the answer to those who unnecessarily condemn fans for supporting K-pop more than OPM. The interview with him backstage was fun and friendly, and his enthusiasm never dimmed despite the heat seeping through the tent.

What can you say about the popularity of K-pop and K-drama in the Philippines?

JB: The popularity… It’s like, ‘di ko talaga ma-describe in words. Kasi hindi lang sa Philippines, eh; now, even in Western countries, Europe… worldwide, right? So it’s kind of mixed emotions. Akala mo naman K-pop ako, ‘no? (Laughs) Parang, thank you guys! You’re finally recognizing our visual performance and music! So, yeah, grateful. Very proud.

Now, there are Filipinos who are becoming part of the Korean music industry—Kriesha Chu, ZPOP members Josh and Carlyn, and the trainees of Hello K-Idol. What can you say about them? Filipinos going to K-pop naman.

JB: As one of the mentors of Hello K-Idol… nung una, to be honest, I was like—kaya ba nila? Pero when I saw them growing… I always knew Filipinos are talented, pero it was this another moment for me to realize that talent ulit. Filipinos are super talented; it’s just that, walang proper education how to be a K-pop trainee here. That’s why they aren’t given a lot of chances. So seeing that [made] me realize na parang—go Filipinos, go for it! Kasi ‘di ba, I’m a Korean who lives in the Philippines, so… ‘yung gano’ng bagay, nakakatuwa rin sa part ko na makakita ako ng Filipino in the K-pop industry. It opens the gate for other Filipinos na… it’s not just about idolizing them, but you can actually be one [of them].

There are many Korean songs with Japanese and English translations, but not too many with Filipino versions. If you can recommend a Korean song that you want a Filipino translation of, what is it and why?

JB: I think, Wild Flower [by Park Hyo Shin]. K-ballad po siya, and sobrang poetic. Ang ibig sabihin po kasi nung song… ang pag-ibig, parang weather, parang spring; it comes and fades. I think that’s a really good song ‘pag in Tagalog.

Any Korean artist you’d like to collaborate with?

JB: (Fanboy screams) Oh my god, wait lang! (Laughs) I love Rosé from Blackpink, BTS’s V—he’s funny—so, ayon.

Some people criticize Filipinos for liking K-pop more than OPM. What can you say to that as a Korean who sings OPM?

JB: For me, 50-50 po ako do’n. Kasi meron talagang into K-pop, pero you can’t blame them kasi we’re different types of people. Our ears, our heart, and our soul react to certain beats and sounds, so we can’t blame them. We should just respect their taste. Pero there are few ignorant people talaga na parang—try hard kayo, walang kwenta ang OPM—but I’m here! We can’t avoid those kinds of people. Instead, let’s just look at people like me. I think I’m a good example to mend that na, yes, a lot of Filipinos love K-pop more than OPM, but there are also Koreans who love OPM… I’m like one of them because all of my songs are OPM, so kanya-kanyang [trip] lang. ‘Wag lang mag-bash ng isang culture because it’s a culture. Just be open-minded. Respect others’ tastes.

Your message to your fans?

JB: Uh… Mahar kitar! (Laughs) Parang K-pop ba? Mabuhay! Mahal kita! Kumain na ba kayo? (Laughs) But jokes aside, I truly, truly thank my Filipino fans… or not-fans. Kahit ‘yung people lang who saw me on TV, Wish guestings, or buzz guestings, na parang—oh, that Korean is doing a good job. Kahit gano’n lang, I thank you guys so much for supporting what I do. I didn’t realize I could be this much accepted by the community. So, thank you guys so much. Thank you for loving K-pop culture also; I love OPM too. Mahar kitar! (Laughs)

What’s next for Jinho Bae?

JB: Actually right now, I’m focusing on my vlogging, my YouTube, but of course, I’m preparing my originals din. OPM, of course. Please do support me! Please do share my music when it comes out, alright? Thank you.

“Tapos ‘di pala nagre-record ‘no?” Jinho quips, making us all laugh after the interview.

Read the first part of the interview with AC Bonifacio here!

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