Blackpink: Jisoo and Ahn Bo-hyun's new romance shocks the K-pop community

Jisoo, the lead vocalist for the popular K-pop group Blackpink, has publicly acknowledged her romantic relationship with actor Ahn Bo-hyun. The couple's respective agencies acknowledged the relationship on Thursday, asking for public support and understanding. Ahn, a Korean model and actor, has appeared in popular drama series such as Itaewon Class and Yumi's Cells. The announcement remains unusual as top K-pop stars rarely reveal much about their private lives. Just a decade ago, it was common practice for agencies to ban new stars from dating or even having a personal mobile phone. Any admission of a romantic relationship or a partner was scandalous to fans. Sociologist Patrick Williams of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore suggests that idols being in private relationships may be "bad for business." However, Jisoo, the lead vocalist for Blackpink, is not your average K-pop star. Blackpink, one of the world's most popular acts, has headlined major music festivals such as Coachella and draws tens of thousands to their concerts. Their agency YG Entertainment has previously denied or refused to comment on rumours surrounding the group members' liaisons. While Blackpink fans generally reacted positively, the admission is unusual. The fact that Jisoo is in the peak of her career makes it unusual. In 2019, major K-pop stars Kang Daniel and Jihyo sparked a backlash from some fans when their relationship was outed by Korean media. However, Mr. Schwartz said that Jisoo's new relationship is a sign that the "super powerful international industry" is changing, potentially becoming more mature. Dr. Williams believes that the international stature of stars like Jisoo gives them greater freedom, as they are starting to push back against some of the constraining dimensions of the K-pop industry.


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