Korean pop music fans around the world are furious after a K-Pop band’s first MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) trophy was found at a thrift shop in the Philippines. A TikTok video posted last week, showing the trophy, went viral.
The video was shared on March 3 by an unsuspecting K-Pop fan, to show a gift their mum had bought at a second-hand store a few years’ ago. Tiktoker @catrionabeanie had posted the video after recently realising that a gift their mum got them from a second-hand store in the Philippines was a genuine trophy from the MAM Awards won by BAP, a popular third-generation South Korean pop group. The name of the band is an acronym for Best Absolute Perfect.
MAMA is one of the oldest awards in the Korean entertainment industry.
The TikTok video and @catrionabeanie’s account were both made private, after the video went viral. But, screenshots from the video posted on Twitter had already caught fans’ attention.
Twitter user @celestial_2000 commented: “I used to be a BAP fan. This hurts a lot.”
Another BAP fan @aziDrottning wrote: “This breaks my heart….”
Angry fans started wondering how the award, won by the group in 2012, ended up at a thrift shop. Many said that TS Entertainment, the talent company formerly managing the band, were to blame.
Tweep @Ashley_MtzA3 posted: “TSEnt has always been a bad company. They really wasted [and] underestimated BAP’s full potential.”
The all-boy band had caught fans’ attention as soon as they debuted in 2012. Their powerful performances, matching bleached hair, and the impressive rapping by their maknae (a word used in Korean communities to refer to the youngest person in a group), won many hearts.
After quickly rising to fame, the group won the Mnet PD’s Choice Award at the MAMA Awards, the same year that they debuted.
According to fans, the award category is judged by a panel of industry experts and was formerly won by well-known groups such as SES, TVXQ, and FT Island.
The TikToker, who posted the video said that they weren’t aware of K-Pop when their mum first got the trophy home. It was only after becoming a K-Pop fan, they realised what the importance of the trophy. The TikToker also assured fans that the trophy will be well taken care of.
According to koreaboo.com, a Korean entertainment news website, two years into the group’s debut, they reportedly sued TS Entertainment to nullify their contracts based on “unfair working conditions and profit distribution”.
In the first three years of their career, the group that disbanded in 2019 had earned $9 million (over Dh33 million) but were only paid $18,000 per member (Dh66,000) while the company kept $8.9 million (Dh32.6 million), the report added.
Although the company settled with BAP the following year, TS Entertainment’s faces a series of new lawsuits from their other signed artists. Eventually, the company shut down in 2021.