How K-pop Saved Me from Donald Trump

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#Hashtags – #LoveEmOrHateEm?

As for me, I don’t completely despise words preceded by TEFKATNAPS (The-Emblem-Formerly-Known-As-The-Number-And-Pound-Signs). They can be useful, especially on Twitter. Mostly, though, they feel like visual clutter.

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Once upon a time, # symbols were mostly relegated to phones.

Nevertheless, I’ve come up with a few hashtags of my own over the years. My current favorite is #NewsThatDoesntSuck, because there’s been a lot of national news over the last several months that has definitely sucked.

To put it plainly, I started using #NewsThatDoesntSuck because of Donald Trump.

His election has turned out to be as much of a disaster as many of us thought it would be. And every day has brought news related to the Trump Administration that has shown something of its:

  • Callousness toward struggling and marginalized people
  • Lack of respect for humanity’s responsibility to steward the Creator’s world
  • Brazen and unconstitutional exploitation of political power for personal financial gain
  • Psychological inability to accept unpleasant realities
  • Extreme dishonesty, even for politicians
  • Governmental incompetence
  • Slapdash policymaking
  • Pro-life hypocrisy, pursuing policies hazardous to the lives of millions

Just writing this list makes my blood boil with a (hopefully) righteous anger, because so many of these things are antithetical to Christian biblical values. And being a news junkie, with a habit of reading and listening to multiple updates a day, I’ve experienced such boiling events quite frequently since the election. As a result, news that sucks has become at times overwhelming emotionally and spiritually.

I know many of you have experienced something similar in the aftermath of Trump’s election. And from our conversations, it sounds like you’ve also had to figure out how to step away from the news and your activism to catch your breath, take care of yourself, arrest your slide toward burnout, and renew your spirit.

My first step came in early March, when I decided that on some days, I just had to turn off the news and limit the number of times I checked for updates. Into that quieter space entered a bit of K-pop.

Lovely, Lo-Lovely Fox

I can’t recall exactly how I stumbled across the song “Fox” by longtime popular K-pop (short for Korean pop) artist Kwon Bo-Ah, better known by her stage name BoA. It may have started through a suggested video that popped up on the right side of my YouTube screen. That itself was highly unusual, since I’m not a K-pop fan. Until a few weeks ago, I could only have named three K-pop songs, one of them being the track everyone knows, rapper PSY’s ground-breaking 2012 song “Gangnam Style.”

Regardless, I found “Fox” to be so incredibly catchy. Full of joy and energy, it bounced around in my head for almost a week. In fact, I hadn’t had a song stuck in my head for that long since Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” It quickly became the song I played most often in the car and at home.

Several weeks later, it’s still the song I listen to the most. And that’s despite the fact I don’t know Korean, and that the only English lyrics are:

Like a lovely, lo-lovely fox
I’m so into you, babe

A translation of the song reveals that BoA’s singing about a dude she’s attracted to, and that he’s charming like a fox. I don’t get it, but maybe it makes sense to some of you; if so, please explain it to me. But the important point here is that the song makes me feel happy! Even though I don’t really understand it, “Fox” has been a tonic for me against recent sucky news.

Here, you try it:

There are also a couple of videos online that use a shortened version of the song. One shows BoA performing before a studio audience:

Another shows Lia Kim, the song’s official choreographer, demonstrating the steps with students from her dance studio:

Not only is the song a happy, feel-good one, but the dancers look like they’re having a good time! And that’s infectious! It sounds absurd, but it’s true: “Fox” has helped me to deal with Donald Trump’s presidency.

Music Soothes

And actually, I’ve curated an entire list of songs that are also saving me from Donald Trump, beginning with the versions of “Fox” I just mentioned. Most of them aren’t particularly deep in meaning, but they’re also fun, and I hope they help you, too! Visit my YouTube playlist called “When the News Sucks,” or look these up indvidually:

1. BoA’s “Fox” (complete audio recording)

2. BoA performing “Fox” live

3. Lia Kim performing the choreography for “Fox”

4. BoA’s “Masayume Chasing”

5. Zendaya’s and Bella Thorne’s “Something to Dance For/TTYLXOX Mashup”

6. Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancing” (The Peanuts Movie karaoke version)

7. Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” 

8. Rick Astley’s “Together Forever”

9. Swing Out Sister’s “Am I the Same Girl”

10. Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” 

11. Bee Gees’ “Night Fever”

12. Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive”

13. Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing”

14. ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”

15. Bananarama’s “I Heard a Rumour”

16. U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love)”

17. U2’s “Vertigo”

18. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” 

19. Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me”

20. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September”

21. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove”

22. Amy Grant’s “Galileo”

23. Amy Grant’s “Every Heartbeat” (remix)

I’ve also gone hiking more often to deal with my #TrumpStress, as well as maintained frequent prayer times for the people affected by the president’s words and decisions. How about you? If you’ve found yourself often stressed/depressed/infuriated/scared by the news coming from the Trump Administration, what have you done to take care of your own emotional and spiritual well-being? Please let me know on social media (see buttons on this page).