I chose these two not only because they have the same last name that starts with L they have quite a lot in common. Both of these girls were discovered on the first season of Kpop Star and are powerhouse vocalists. Neither of them won the competition and then both were signed by YG Entertainment after the show. But that is really where the similarities end. Lee Michelle was dropped by YG before her debut and was signed by a much smaller agency. Lee Hi was debuted as a solo artist and has had major mainstream success.
Originally the two were going to debut together along with a couple other girls under the group name Su-Pearls. Su-Pearls were actually a group created during Kpop Star and during the show Lee Hi wasn’t part of it. Both girls trained for two years after the show at YG but before the group could debut Lee Hi debuted as a soloist with the song 1234, one of my favorite Kpop songs to this day. Soon after Su-Pearls were disbanded and while no one really knows for sure why most believe it was because of Lee Hi’s success as a soloist. Lee Hi released two more singles and, like the first, they were both a major success solidifying her title of “monster rookie.”
Now, don’t let the rest of this post fool you, I quite like Lee Hi. She is an amazing performer and I own her album, it is really great. But I feel like Lee Michelle has a lot more depth to her then Lee Hi does. She just recently released her debut single Without You. WARNING: Do not watch the video without a box of tissues handy. This is actually the first time, pretty much ever, that I cried at a music video. Normally a music video can’t get me into the story enough to make me cry. I can watch it and I know that it is sad but it doesn’t really… hit home, if you know what I mean.
For those of you that can’t tell from the picture of her above Lee Michelle is half black and half Korean, and she grew up in Korea. Some of you may not know this but Korea is actually fairly new to having foreigners. It wasn’t so long ago that a white or black person, or pretty much anyone who wasn’t Korean, couldn’t walk the streets of Seoul without being stared at. So I imagine growing up in a place where everyone thinks of you as an outsider is very difficult, and she tells us about it in her new video.
If you just look at the surface meaning of the lyrics of the song it will seem like she is just talking about a lost love. However, taken with her history and the MV, the lyrics have a much deeper meaning. During the video you mostly see a little girl that could be Lee Michelle’s little sister, who is clearly supposed to be her. She starts by running from some unseen threat to a really sad looking house. She proceeds to write racial slurs on the wall, ones that have been slung at her. At one point the little girl uses powder to whiten her face, trying to become what everyone wants her to be. But the video ends with her throwing paint at a white canvas that has Lee Michelle’s face drawn on it, giving her color again. I am not ashamed to admit that I was bawling by the end of this video.
I know in the picture of me on the About page I look really really white, but I am actually mixed. My mother is half Filipino and half Italian while my dad is part pretty much everything that is white in Europe, but mostly Irish. I proudly proclaim myself to be a mutt, thank you very much. But even if you don’t have a mixed heritage you can relate, most of us have something we feel we have been put down or bullied for. What did you think of the video, could you relate to it?