You may have heard the iconic line already, blasted through the airwaves on the radio while the music video made the rounds online. “BLACKPINK in your area,” originating from the song Boombayah by the Kpop girl group BLACKPINK, has been on Kpop fans’ lips for ages before the group’s first Philippine concert last Feb. 2, 2019. Known for their songs Boombayah, As if it’s Your Last, and their most recent single Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, the four member girl group under YG Entertainment has taken the world by storm. The music video of Ddu-Du Ddu-Du became the most viewed online video and second most watched video of all time within 24 hours of its release back in June 15, 2018.
Imagine the excitement that Filipino BLINKS (the name for fans of BLACKPINK) experienced when their first Philippine concert was announced. Undeterred by the high prices of concert tickets, fans of the group flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena to watch their favorite Kpop group.
But before the girls of BLACKPINK arrived at the concert venue, they were already treated to quite an up-close and personal experience with their Filipino fans. Unfortunately, the entourage that received the girls at the airport could have been a lot more behaved.
Greeting celebrities and idols at the airport is not a new occurrence. Often once the celebrity has been whisked away to their hotel, they are barricaded behind security and it is very difficult for fans to meet them or take pictures of them. One way that Kpop fans all across the world found to circumvent this problem is to go to the airport itself and wait for their favorite idols’ flight to land.
Last Feb. 1, 2019, the day before the BLACKPINK concert, the group themselves arrived on Philippine soil at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 10 p.m. The scene that greeted them would not be out of place in a horror movie: A stampede of excited fans mobbing the arrivals area. Crazed fans stood on top of an Airport Police Department’s vehicle to get a better look. Fans and security were shoved in the mad dash to catch a glimpse of the Kpop idols. There were screams of frustration from disappointed fans in vain hope that they could persuade their fellow BLINKS to behave. There were chants yelled at the top of their lungs for two of the members of BLACKPINK: Jennie and Lisa. The ensuing chaos forced the Kpop group’s entourage to use the VIP ramp exit to escape the crowd.
It is disappointing and disheartening, to say the least, to see such undisciplined behavior from fellow Filipinos. On Twitter, other BLINKS were expressing their disappointment and frustration at the airport stampede, decrying the fact that this incident would be the first impression of the Philippines and Filipinos to BLACKPINK. It is understandable to get excited over seeing your favorite musicians, but there is a time and place for everything, and the safety of the celebrities, and of the fans coming to greet them and the staff simply doing their jobs, should be prioritized first.
Hopefully in future Kpop concert events, Filipino fans would be more disciplined and level-headed. Stampedes only serve to put the people in the area in danger, and get fans no closer to seeing their beloved celebrities. If anything, it raises the risk involved with bringing the celebrities to a foreign country, and could complicate having concerts of the same nature in the future. These celebrities are people too, and as excited as we can get over seeing our favorite musicians, actors, etc., they deserve space and respect too.
Alex Alcasid usually writes fantasy and spec-fic, and tweets whatever comes to mind at @alex_alcasid