Gee, it's been one hell of a week for K-pop. First the Wonder Girls go on hiatus in the wake of Sun's marriage plans, and now JYJ and SM Entertainment have finally settled their infamous contract dispute. Or so it seems.
It's been over three years since Junsu, Jaejoong, and Yoochun filed a lawsuit for contract termination against their former label, subsequently splitting Asia's biggest boy band, TVXQ, in half. While the remaining two members of the group have been able to successfully continue on as a duo, the runaways, now known as JYJ, have been in and out of the courts trying to break free of their allegedly unfair contracts.
And now they finally have.
In an official statement released to the press, SM Entertainment said:
The trio [JYJ] stated that they have no intention of performing as members of the group ‘TVXQ’, so SM has come to the decision that we no longer have a reason to be in charge of management for the trio. We have come to a mutual agreement to not interfere with the other party’s activities as our paths will not cross in the future, and the lawsuit has come to an end through this agreement. Also, we have come to the decision that the best course of action was to end this lawsuit to ensure that there will be no more additional damages or unnecessary issues that arise because of the lawsuit that may harm Yunho and Changmin, who are currently active as ‘TVXQ.’
Sadly, JYJ's label, C-JeS Entertainment, aren't quite convinced that just because the legal issues have been laid to rest, that the drama will be, too. In a statement of their own, C-JeS seemed more than certain that SM will continue to cockblock JYJ's broadcast activities in Korea, just as they have been for the past three-plus years.
We believed that this was a battle that had already been won three years ago when the courts accepted our injunction. To be honest, we don’t believe that there will be much change to JYJ’s activities after the verdict because the interference of JYJ’s activities isn’t a legal issue, but a battle between David and Goliath.
We are currently walking down a path that only JYJ could take, and we will continue to pursue our own activities, as planned. We hope that the success of this agreement will rectify the various limitations placed upon JYJ that used the lawsuit as an excuse, and we would like to once more sincerely thank the domestic and international fans who have given JYJ their unwavering support from the start.
We probably won't know if JYJ will be allowed back onto Korea's music programs until they release their next album, which is tentatively due out early next year. Although, with speculation that they're hoping to target the U.S. again, we could be waiting even longer. Whenever their K-pop comeback finally does happen, SM should retract their claws and just let the trio go about their business. That way, SM can at least pretend that they were only doing it before for legal reasons, since JYJ were still technically signed to them. If they decide to continue their acts of sabotage from this point forward, they'll just look like big ol' bullies.
Regardless of what happens, JYJ are going to be just fine. Their last album, 2011's In Heaven, was still the fourth highest-seller last year, and Junsu's solo album, May's Tarantallegra, is the highest-selling solo album in the history of Korea's GAON chart. The local restrictions placed on JYJ also forced the group to tour and promote overseas, gaining them a much larger international following than many other K-pop acts. SM may have won a few small battles here and there, but overall, JYJ have won the war.
The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
We're glad they're on our side.
The world is up against a seemingly insurmountable threat, but luckily, we've got a crack team of heroes on the case.
Sure, there's already the girl with super strength, the guy who can fly, and the anthropomorphic, trash-talking animal tailor-made for merchandise. But this is a threat of intergalactic proportions, and we're going to need all the help we can get if we want to survive.
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