As Kpop continues to reach global success more Kpop fans are interesting in becoming a Kpop idols as well as companies using non-Asian idols to gain attention. Here is the history and timeline of non-Asian idols.
1. Mikey Romeo (Roo’ra)
Nationality : African – American
Roo’ra is a kpop co-ed group, that debuted in 1994, they’re a hip hop-reggae base group. In 1996, one of their members (Ji-hyun) left to pursue a solo career and was replaced with rapper, Mikey Romeo.
The group disbanded in 2001; then re-formed in 2008 when Ji-hyun returning Mikey Romeo
2. @ / Golbang-ii (골뱅이)
Nationality : Half Korean
There’s not a lot of information about this group but it looks like they only made one song, “queen of the night.”
Nationality : Belgian
Nationality : French
Nationality : French
BonJour was a kpop group that consisted of three foreigners. They released two songs. Julian moved on to do many things in Korea like acting, modelling & TV personality on the show “Abnormal Summit.”
4. Kyle & Marco ( ESQ)
Nationality : European
Nationality : Italian
ESQ was referred to as the first international group and they made their first Tv appearance on September 2011 through the show “Hallyu Olympics,” with the non-Asian member Kyle. Kyle found interest in korean media when modelling in japan however he left the group and was replaced with another non-Asian idol, Marco.
Marco was scouted online after posting dance videos on YouTube. Supposedly Marco left because he had visa issues but the whole group disappeared altogether. Marco still uploads on his YouTube channel “Seoul mafia “
5. Brad Moore (Buster Buster)
Nationality : European – American
Busker Busker is an indie band. Before Brad joined the band, the band’s name was Pinky Pinky. Brad joined the band after the band’s original drummer had to leave to join the army. Unfortunately, in 2013, the group announced that their temporally disbanding.
6. Chad Future
Nationality : American
Chad future whose real name is David has a history of coming in and out of kpop.
In 2011, he was a member of a boy group called heart2heart. This was not a kpop group, this was an English group with a Kpop style.
In 2012, he dipped his toes in the Kpop industry and created a genre called AK-pop, American pop and korean pop together. During his years in kpop, he did english covers of Kpop songs with high production music videos and he also did collaborations with a lot of Kpop idols e.g VIXX’s Ravi.
In September 2016, he formed an American pop group called F.A.M.E and on the same year he stops uploading on his official channel.
7. Olivia (the gloss)
Nationality : French
The Gloss became the first girl group to have a non-Asian member, unfortunately, they never officially debuted because they disbanded the same year.
8. Alex (RaNia)
RaNia have been around since 2011 and throughout the years, they have had so many member changes. Alex joined the group RaNia in 2015.
In 2017, it was announced that Alex had left the group, during her time in the group she was constantly mistreated.
Example of mistreatment:
– During photoshoots, Alex was front and centre but during live performance she only came on stage when it was her lines and she barely got any lines.
– she got different outfits than the members.
– she wasn’t taught korean nor did they provide her a translator.
9. EXP Edition
Nationality: Japanese & German
This group was formed through the “I’m making a boy band” project why Bora Kim in 2014. Bora Kim was intrudied by the global success of kpop but was curious about what actually makes Kpop korean and how far can she push or is there a limit? The group officially debuted in 2017.
10. Coco Avenue
Jenny & Jenna
Coco avenue is an African-American duo based in Los Angeles but they make korean music. The group have disbanded.
11. Sofia (O My Jewel)
The group O My Jewel had one signal before disbanding after only 5 months.
On February 2014, she sang Lee Mi-ja’s “Lady” on KBS “Gayo Stage,” Lee Mi-ja reached out to her and invited her to be part of her tour as a guest singer. In 2018, she released her first mini album.
13. Oli London
Oli London is a self-proclaimed kpop idol, he’s based in London under Oli London entertainment. He gained attention not for his music but for spending over more than $250.000 dollars to look like Jimin from BTS.
Her debut was met with a lot of criticism when it was revealed that she had made racist comments in the past. In an interview with sports Seoul she said her father’s eyes were small which is why he looked korean.
Her debut song “take the wheel” also received backlash for being poorly produced and many believed she was a koreaboo. On December 2019, she realised her second digital signal “make it real” were she addressed the hate
In 2020, She’s competed in the Chinese reality survival show “produce camp 2020” which is the Chinese version of produce 101.
This is not a kpop group,they were a project and they never officially debut.
Ment created a TV show called “foreign schoolgirl” and the concept was to create a girl group consisting of international kpop fans. These kpop fans were invited to korea to learn about korean pop music,culture, cuisine and history in the spam of 3 weeks and during that trip they made song called Popsicle and released a music video.
16. Eddie (Lalary)
In 2018, Eddie joined the survival reality show “Under Nineteen”. He was eliminated in Episode 6 with his final rank being 45th place.
Lalary is an independent eight-member co-ed project group that debuted in 2019.
Nationality: Spanish – Filipina
Kaachi is the first UK girl group. Immediately after their debut they were surrounded by hate and rumours, so bad that their manager had to come forward and clear their name.
Nia & Miriam are the members of the upcoming girl group UnionWave under the company UnionWave entertainment.
UnionWave entertainment was founded in Switzerland in April 2018 and February 2020 the company launched its first branch in korea. There plan is to create a deep cultural link between Europe and Asia.
19. Fatou (B.S.)
In 2020, it was revealed that RaNia will brand as B.S., also known as Black Swan with two new members; Judy and Fatou.
Fans are hoping that Fatou gets better treatment than Alex did rather than just being the “token black member.”