Netizens are calling out aespa‘s Giselle for alleged cultural appropriation.
Over the weekend, aespa performed Showcase SYNK in LA at YouTube Theater in Inglewood, CA. It was an exciting event for MY (aespa fandom) as Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning got together for a phenomenal showcase.
— YouTube Theater (@youtubetheater) June 27, 2022
While it was filled with stunning performances from the girls as well as fun moments, there is, unfortunately, one moment that has left K-Pop fans disappointed.
giselle: you drive me crazy mys pic.twitter.com/0AEolV213W
— 1394🤘 (@se_yuj) June 27, 2022
During Showcase SYNK in LA, aespa had some fun with the latest TikTok dance challenge that has all K-Pop idols obsessed right now.
“Jiggle Jiggle” is a single by British-American journalist and documentary maker Louis Theroux. The song was originally created based on a rap trend that Theroux participated in on the show Weird Weekends, and it was popularized after he rapped it on Amelia Dimoldenberg‘s interview series Chicken Shop Date. The sound is produced by Manchester-based DJ duo Duke & Jones.
Its catchy tune with a matching choreography went viral on the video-sharing app, and now all our favorite idols are doing it, even at their own live events. So, at Showcase SYNK in LA, aespa did the “Jiggle Jiggle” dance challenge, and all the members were clearly having so much fun with it!
Yet, in the end, Giselle added her own spin on the choreography. At the line, “relax,” one normally puts one leg up and crosses it with arms behind their head to represent the lyric. So, when the aespa members did this part, Giselle transitioned into a different move than the original choreography.
Giselle then pinched her fingers while moving her head left and right while standing in the same position. To some, she was just improvising from the original dance challenge. Yet, to many, it appeared that Giselle was doing a dance from Indian culture.
K-Pop fans feel that Giselle was mocking Desi (also known as Deshi), the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora. Immediately after doing the move, she started laughing.
What’s so funny? Video of Giselle mocking Desi pic.twitter.com/GGTeqTuiz2
— trouble trouble trouble (@yutaayy) June 27, 2022
The video of aespa doing the “Jiggle Jiggle” challenge at their showcase went viral on TikTok. At the time of writing, it has 852.6K views.
However, it went viral for the unfortunate reason of Giselle allegedly doing cultural appropriation. The comment section is filled with netizens expressing their disappointment.
On social media, there has been debate over whether Giselle intended to make fun of Desi culture or not. Some argue that as she is Buddhist, these such movements and gestures overlap cultures/religions.
As seen in the previous video, Giselle is lynched for doing this desi-culture move, but what most people don't know is that giselle's culture and belief are free to do this.
— ₩ G I R L S ₩ (@aerirouge) June 27, 2022
If I leave buddhism aside, giselle does jiggle jiggle movement in the video, and at the end of the stream, there is this chimney movement that giselle does, only her hands are making desi movements. this is because it is the same as 2ne1's fire choreography.+
— ₩ G I R L S ₩ (@aerirouge) June 27, 2022
So, they believed that she thought she was just doing a “yoga pose.” Still, the head movements followed by laughter make it suspicious.
Desi fans have also pointed out that Giselle’s dance resembled that of Bharatanatyam, a major form of Indian classical dance.
Bharatanatyam is a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in Tamil Nadu. The Natya Shastra by Bharata Muni and Abhinaya Darpana(Mirror of Gesture) by Nandikeshvara are considered to be the original sources of Bharatanatyam (an Indian classical dance form). The dance form is also briefly mentioned in Kannada text Manasollasa written by Someshwara III. It has flourished in the temples and courts of southern India since ancient times.
Any classical Indian dancer would know how tough it is to master this dance, even before entering the dance stage the dancers do a sort of prayer as a way of respecting god and the dance. What she did is straight up insulting and makes me uncomfortable.
— 🍀 (@hyunnamour) June 27, 2022
Due to its history and religious association, it would be even more offensive for a non-Desi person to do the dance, especially without proper education.
It is one of the eight widely recognized Indian classical dance forms, and expresses South Indian religious themes and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism, collectively Hinduism.
Of course, Giselle is not the first K-Pop idol to receive criticism for this. Nonetheless, most netizens feel that Giselle should have known better and not done a dance that resembles one of Desi culture, especially since she is known to have attended an international school.
Some even wonder if Giselle does things intentionally as it’s not her first time. Previously, she received backlash after mouthing the n-word while listening to SZA‘s “Love Galore.”
Since the last incident, Giselle apologized. Yet, netizens feel now that she didn’t learn from her past mistake.
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