Notes on 2NE1's Most Tragic Year.
*I decided to write my thoughts after the day Minzy confirmed the news. Should you want to read other opinions about this, the best would be is to start from here.
May 4th 11:03PM. I received a notification on my phone that Minzy posted something on Instagram. The timing was on point as it was already May 5th midnight in Korea. This is it, I thought. Me, along with thousands of Blackjacks around the world are waiting for this moment. Since it's my lunch break, I went to the washroom to check on the post. And from there as I read her message, tears started rolling down my cheeks. Somehow a few weeks ago, I was still hoping that this was all a dream.
A little flashback. I only got into K-Pop because of Minzy. I can still remember it was around August-September 2009, a male co-worker who happened to be Sandara Park's fanboy showed me a music video he downloaded illegally from the office computer. It was a Korean music video of 4 girls named 2NE1, and the song was titled 'Fire'. I immediately spotted Sandara from the group (now with the name Dara), but what caught my attention the most was the small brown-haired girl with the name Minzy, on loose white shirt and at one time held a replica of Hulk's fist on the video. Little did I know she's the youngest of the group. Hell, at first I even thought she was CL. But then I started watching their other videos and TV guestings, shows and everytime I did, I always set my attention to this girl. I proclaimed myself to be Minzy fan from that time. It was until when the song 'It Hurts' was released that I began to appreciate them as a group and became a Blackjack and a Minja at the same time. I began to recognize their individual talent, that they're not just another girl group; they're one of a kind girl group. I began to love CL, Dara and Bom but most of all, my love for their youngest Minzy even grew stronger.
As their fanbase began to grow and spread outside Korea, 2NE1 never failed their supporters when it comes to delivering a hair-raising and awesome performance. I saw the members grow up; I had witnessed my favorite Minzy blossom from a girl to a lady, to a woman. Even if it's only from my computer screen. I was lucky enough to see them perform twice- one in 2011 where I was seated at the Gen Ad section (lol) and the last one in 2014, where I was able to secure a VIP seating and watch them in the flesh and hear their awesome voices.
Despite of the huge popularity of the group, during the past 6 years, 2NE1 only released 2 studio albums and 2 mini albums. YGE doesn't invest on the girls to be on tv shows (though they had some). Bom, CL and Dara were able to release singles. Minzy, on the other hand, didn't have any. A supposed to be 2011 solo was also brought up (by Minzy herself) during one of their AON promotions but this didn't materialize as obviously, Minzy literally had nothing during her time with 2NE1. For a company to ignore one of their most talented artist, it would really be a shame. But I, we heard nothing from both parties.
After AON and YG Fam concerts, 2NE1 again went on hiatus. CL became more involved with her upcoming US debut, Dara worked on several dramas and hostings, Bom went on hiatus too, and Minzy went to carry out her own activities. She posted self-composed songs, went to school, opened up her own dance academy. As a fan who is used to this set up, it seems that everything is okay and that I believed that they're silently working on another comeback by 2016. But an awful news struck the fandom instead when a month ago, YGE announced Minzy's departure from the company, the company she loved and cherished for 11 years.
On to present. I got the update that I wanted. We got the update that we wanted. The fandom lashed out mixed reactions, some anger and disappointment, some sadness, some happiness. I am one of those sad fans when Minzy officially confirmed her departure. Sad that 2NE1 will continue to be a trio. Sad because I cannot imagine how CL, Dara and Bom will sing their greatest hits without her. I know I've read and heard fans say this, but I'll have to say it again- Minzy is definitely the most talented member of the group and I think we can all agree to this statement. While the other members have their own designated position in the group, she became an all around support- dancer, rapper, singer at the same time. If CL sets the stage on fire during performance, Minzy keeps the fire going until it ends. 2NE1 will not be the same without her.
After crying and pondering, I realized I should be happy. Be happy for my bias Minzy can now have her freedom to show her talents, and to spread her wings and became a solo artist. I can feel that this is what she's waiting for after 11 years, finally be herself and show the whole world what she got. I know it's a very hard decision for her to leave the group and company where she spent her childhood with. Her fellow members who had become her sisters. Her label mates who had become her brothers and seniors. I can feel that the other girls were devastated by this news as well. Well, actually all of us are devastated- up until now some fans still hasn't fully accepted the fact that 2NE1 is now a 3-member group. Eventually time will tell and the wound will heal and we will start fresh. Same as us fans. Although I am a loyal Minzy stan, I will still continue to love and support 2NE1. I am not sure yet how they'll sound as three, but I'm confident they'll pull it off.
With this mess that happened, here's some of my points:
1. I am thankful that Minzy didn't give us the silent treatment. I knew she would do this and the fact that she had waited until May 5th midnight to confirm it was really heartwarming. May 5th 2015 would be one of the saddest days of my life.
2. Some "Blackjacks" are actually blaming the other girls that led to Minzy leaving the group. Please, CL, Bom and Dara had nothing to do with this, it is Minzy's decision not to renew her contract. Minzy's a gown woman who can decide whatever she wants with her life and career.
3. Other "Blackjacks" actually blame Minzy for being selfish and inconsiderate and that had been distant to the other girls ever since. How can she be selfish an inconsiderate if she was considered by her band mates the most reliable member? If she's selfish, she could have decided to leave years ago. Minzy waited 11 years, dropped out of high school and spent her childhood and teenage years training.
4. I actually blame YGE for not giving proper support to Minzy's endeavors. They lost a potential talent and a great asset to their company. I just hope in the future they won't make the same mistake to their new artists/groups.
As I went out of the washroom, I bumped into one of my colleagues and asked me why my eyes are red. I gave out a safe alibi and went back to work. I still had this heavy feeling, but I became more relieved and confident that everything will be okay.
Hello, this is Minzy. It is with a sincere heart that I write to you all. First, I would like to apologize to all those who expressed shock at the news of my departure. It is after careful consideration and much deliberation that I have decided to pursue a new journey as an artist named Minzy Kong. Ever since debuting with 2NE1 at the young age of 16, I have been grateful for the wonderful memories I shared with incredible fans worldwide. These experiences were undeniably precious and I take none of them for granted. Thank you all for helping me grow as an artist. I promise to work even harder to return before you all with an improved and more honest version of myself. Through a renewed vision and hard work, I hope to reciprocate the love, dedication, and support that you have shown me. Thank you to all the fans, family, and friends who have shown me their love and concern. I promise to return soon. love, Minzy