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MORE THAN JUST AN ORGANIZATION

          Co-founders Delaney Mason and Olivia George established Ole Miss Generation in 2017 at the height of the “Hallyu wave” after they experienced a small, unofficial K-Pop dance cover group with a graduating senior in the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), or now known as the Vietnamese American Student Association (VASA). To join the University of Mississippi’s K-Pop dance cover group, members had to attend an interest meeting (Fig. 2) where the co-founders discussed future plans and goals. “Because so many [members] are international students and go back [to their home countries], we renew our memberships every year,” co-founder Delaney Mason said. According to a questionnaire I conducted, approximately 40% of Ole Miss Generation’s members are international students, and approximately 83% of its members joined with interest in K-Pop idols and singers. Together the international and domestic students in the University of Mississippi enhance the “ability to work with other K-pop fans on their similar interest” (qtd. in Noe, par. 6).

          To demonstrate their strong K-Pop fandom, Ole Miss Generation performs at events, like K-Pop Night and International Culture Night, where they can inform the audience of Korean pop culture. Ole Miss Generation also hosts Flash-Mob Performances at the Ole Miss Student Union Plaza, where I first encountered the dance cover group. Some professional K-Pop dance cover groups also perform flash-mob performances in the busy streets of South Korea to entertain passersby and to demonstrate their hard work. However, with digital technology on the rise, many K-Pop dance cover groups upload their performances on social media platforms, particularly YouTube, like official K-Pop idol groups and singers. The uploaded videos expand the number and diversity of the viewers with YouTube’s global usage and allows people to watch missed performances and rewatch the same performances.

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          Ole Miss Generation, an example of a discourse community, has a common attraction to the Korean culture. In the recent survey I created, most Ole Miss Generation members stated that they joined the group because they were interested in K-Pop while the other top reasons of joining are interests in Korean culture and the Korean language (Fig. 3). Similar to K-Pop fans in South Korea, K-Pop fans in the University of Mississippi “share love of [the music] genre” by following dance choreographies of popular Korean songs (Noe, par. 1). Moon Chang Ho, the Executive Producer of 2011 K-Pop Cover Dance Festival, further stated, “The cover dance boom has created a platform for fans from all around the world to actively participate and enjoy K-pop” (qtd. in BillBoard Korea Staff, par. 3). With pure hearts, the fans of modern popular songs in South Korea created the now-trending genre of K-Pop dance covers.

          To communicate within the extensive K-Pop fan community, Ole Miss Generation follows a common genre, or method of communication. According to Ann Johns, the “genres” of the groups and affiliations allow communication within and outside the community but mainly interact within their “specialization” (504). By uploading dance cover videos on YouTube, Ole Miss Generation can interact with other K-Pop fans and dance cover groups across the country and the world. Kim Suk Young, a professor of Critical Studies and the Director of the Center for Performance Studies at the University of California in Los Angeles, emphasized that “highly medium-specific” K-Pop music videos rely on YouTube because it serves as a producer-convenient and audience-accessible platform (94). The public videos depict the high value of visuals, or the “aesthetic feature” of K-Pop genre, rather than vocalization (Um 199). Since fans recognize the visuals as the key feature of music videos, Ole Miss Generation and other dance cover groups reflect the feature in their uploaded videos that show the imitations of K-Pop dance choreographies.

          Discourse communities, including Ole Miss Generation, can connect to one another through accepted channels and forums, such as public media, with a qualified format (Porter 38-39). The dance cover videos usually have a logos scene in the beginning or end of videos, dancers who take on roles of personas, and very similar dance choreography. BTS’ (or Bangtan Boys) “MIC Drop” music video has an introduction logo for the first eight seconds to verify who they are. Similarly, Ole Miss Generation presents a logo for the first four seconds. On the other hand, the Koreos, a dance cover organization at the University of California in Los Angeles who inspired cofounders Delaney Mason and Olivia George to establish Ole Miss Generation, did not have a logo; instead they added a “Follow us on social media” page. The professional dance cover group, 5150 CREW, had a seven-second logo of the costume designers and an ending scene of  the dance group’s logo. The logo scenes inform the viewers exactly who they are watching and gives a professional sense. Sometimes, to integrate the Korean language and the English language for global audience, dance cover groups include both languages in their YouTube videos’ titles, such as Koreos’ “[Koreos] BTS 방탄소년단) - Mic Drop Dance Cover 댄스커버'' and 5150 CREW’s “[5150 CREW] 방탄소년단 BTS - MIC DROP | 커버댄스 DANCE COVER | costumed by SFDH x MASTERNUMBER.” The multilingual titles depict integration, knowledge, and credibility in K-Pop and Korean pop culture.

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          Dance cover videos also illustrate the dancers and their fake identities and personalities, or personas. Kim Suk Young argued that K-Pop music videos no longer have “liveness,” or naturalism, as visuals gradually became more important than vocalization (93). Haekyung Um, the Director of Postgraduate Research and lecturer in music at the University of Liverpool, further adds that members of groups also have a persona, or role that they take, such as being the “tough guy” (196). Wearing black jackets, pants, shoes, and dark camouflages with red and white accents, BTS members are seen as dark, tough young men in “MIC Drop” music video. To exhibit the same persona and follow the original work, Ole Miss Generation and Koreos wore similar clothing styles as they wore black clothes, loose clothes, camouflage, dark clothes, and red and white accents. BTS also lingered at car junkyards and recording studios that look abandoned in the music video. Likewise, Ole Miss Generation and Koreos perform in parking garages with low light exposure while 5150 CREW performed in a dark, abandoned wrestling ring. To perform with the right emotions, one must apply the songs’ “interior” as K-Pop requires the addition of emotions from the melody and lyrics as if the song is a melodramatic drama (Krieger, par. 3). In a personal interview, Delaney Mason of Ole Miss Generation mentioned the different advanced subgroups of the dance cover group that require auditions (Fig. 4) to see what “feel” they can express the best: OMG-Y, the “badass” and “tough girl group,” (Fig. 5); OMG-X, the “cool” boy group with “sharp movements” like EXO; OMG-R, the undebuted “sexy [and] sensual” girl group; and other groups that focus on cute styles and popular songs in general. The emotions can be fully understood when considering not just the melody and dance choreography but also the meanings behind the lyrics. Expressions of the fake personas benefit the fans to understand the Korean language and culture.

          With the personas that they embrace, Ole Miss Generation mirrors the original K-Pop dance choreographies. Intertextuality creates a “web” where people can borrow and “create new discourse” (Porter 34). The digital K-Pop music videos created a discourse community of K-Pop dance covers as intertextuality included “iterability,” or use of “repeated moves, phrases, and traditions” (Porter 34). Ole Miss Generation, Koreos, and 5150 CREW reflect the choreography of “MIC Drop” by BTS as they perform and practice the same dance moves; however, the video formats and choreography styles can also be seen as variable formats. Porter, a professor of English and Armstrong Interactive Media Studies at Miami University, also refers to intertextuality as a “web of meaning” (34). Through different interpretations and personal values to the audience, original works and music videos can be shown in a variety of ways depending on who is in the individual dance cover group. Consequently in an interview, Ole Miss Generation’s social media content manager related dance choreography as a way to “better connect” with the original K-Pop idol group and interact with other K-Pop idol groups and their songs as well as she mentioned in an interview. Through open opinions and interpretations of the music videos and the songs, fans can understand the K-Pop idol groups, and the language of Korean.

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The Lyric Oxford Performance for Code Pi

Works Cited:

ARTBEAT. “[5150 CREW] 방탄소년단 BTS - MIC DROP | 커버댄스 DANCE COVER | costumed by SFDH x MASTERNUMBER.” YouTube, 23 Oct.

          2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ar2M35h-brw.

Big Hit Labels. “BTS (방탄소년단) ‘MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)’ Official MV.” YouTube, 24 Nov. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch

          v=kTlv5_Bs8aw.

BillBoard Korea Staff. “A Look Inside the ‘K-Pop Cover Dance’ Trend.” BillBoard, 18 Oct. 2011, https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/

          465675/a-look-inside-the-k-pop-cover-dance-trend.

Dirk, Kerry. “Navigating Genres.” Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, vol. 1, Parlor Press, 2010, pp. 249-62. 

Social Media Coordinator/Manager. Personal interview. 11 March 2020.

Johns, Ann M. “Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice: Membership, Conflict, and Diversity.” Text, Role, and Context:

          Developing Academic Literacies, 1997, pp. 499-505.

Kim, Suk Young. “Simulating Liveness in K-Pop Music Videos.” K-Pop Live: Fans, Idols, and Multimedia Performance, Stanford University

          Press, 2018, pp. 93-127. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/olemiss/detail.action?docID=5430258. 

Koreos. “[Koreos] BTS (방탄소년단) - Mic Drop Dance Cover 댄스커버.” YouTube, 30 Nov. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?

          v=LNK2IbXl4oE

Krieger, Daniel. “Gym or Dance Floor? Either Works.” New York Times, 6 Dec. 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/06/nyregion/k-pop-

          dance-classes-from-bounce-studio-in-manhattan.html?searchResultPosition=4.

Mason, Delaney. Personal interview. 17 Feb. 2020. 

Noe, Eliza. “K-pop fans share love of genre in university dance group.” The Daily Mississippian, Mississippi Press Association, 5 Sept. 2018,

          https://thedmonline.com/fans-share-love-of-korean-culture-in-university-dance-group/

Ole Miss Generation. “[OMG] MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix) | Full Length Ver. BTS Dance Cover.” YouTube, 2 Jan. 2019, https://www.youtube.

          com/watch?v=Km_lfM3m5IU.

---. “At The Lyric Oxford.” 2020, https://www.facebook.com/pg/OleMissGeneration/photos/?ref=page_internal

---. “At Turner Center.” 2020, https://www.facebook.com/pg/OleMissGeneration/photos/?ref=page_internal

---. “Here comes your favorite flyer of the semester [heart-eyed emoji] That’s right, OMG is recruiting for our Fall 2019 members! Be at

          Bryant Hall 209 this Thursday @ 6:30 pm to join the fam!” 2019, https://www.facebook.com/pg/OleMissGeneration/photos/

          ?ref=page_internal

Porter, James E. “Intertextuality and the Discourse Community.” Rhetoric Review, vol. 5, no. 1, Taylor & Francis, Ltd., 1986, pp. 34-47.

          Jstor.org, http://www.jstor.org/stable/466015. 

Suh, Ember. “OMG Members’ Survey.” Questionnaire. 27 Feb. 2020.

Um, Haekyung. “The Voice of Popular Korea: Styles, Genres, and Contexts.” Made in Korea: Studies in Popular Music, Routledge, 2016, pp.

          191-200, ProQuest Ebook Central,https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/olemiss/reader.action?docID=4684067&ppg=206.

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