South Korean rapper Psy, who is also known as Park Jae-sang, received his first public display of honor back home, and in advance of his New Year’s Eve performance in New York with MC Hammer.
But the honor from his countrymen didn’t draw the YouTube celebrity to return for a visit, or to make a newsworthy comment about it, even when the New York Times pressed for one. And is that because the real creator of “Gangnam Style” is in question, or because the display honoring the singer is less than honoring?
The “display” meant to honor the rapper with a billion YouTube hits is made of plywood and features black cutout silhouettes, which starkly contrasts to the more elaborate skyscrapers and fancy boutiques in the singer’s native country.
But it is just the first object expected to proliferate the singer’s homeland when the new tourism promoters get finished. So the “Gangnam Style” rapper might decide to rethink his decision.
A visitor’s center is expected to open in February, and eventually it is hoped that it will include a life-size hologram of Park Jae-sang performing his “buffoonish dance,” according to the Times. Hopefully it will, as a plywood display meant to honor a person probably wouldn’t draw any new star back to their homeland after they’ve tasted the opulence of the West, especially Times Square. Right?
The “Gangnam Style” rapper has yet to acknowledge the accolade bestowed upon him by a 13-member tourist promotion office from his native South Korea, which only formed two months ago, and as a means of capitalizing on a style they say he borrowed from his countrymen. And maybe that’s because the rapper thinks his countrymen are now trying to capitalize on him?
The district’s mayor, Shin Yeon-hee says no and that their tourism effort plan was helped because “Psy appeared right when we were ready to take Gangnam global.” The district thinks it is fortuitous that Park Jae-sang raised “Gangnam Style” awareness and created a craze for it as they sought to also use it as a tourism promotional tool, even though it has been part of their culture and the rappers for a long time.
Kim Kwang-soo heads the new 13-member tourism office that was created in November to get the tourism drive going, and like the South Korean district’s mayor, she says that thanks to him ” even people who don’t know South Korea now know Gangnam.” And she hopes that will draw visitors from the West to South Korea, who already entertain as many as 800,000 visitors annually from China and Japan.
She also hopes the rapper will get on board with the tourism effort, lending his name and presence to help draw visitors in order to celebrate him and the “Gangnam Style,” and to spend their dollars. But that was before the rapper dropped his bombshell that he won’t perform “Gangnam Style” again. So who knows if that will hurt the South Korean tourism effort–or if his recent announcement is part of it?
(Photo Credit: Jean Chung for the New York Times)