Fan bases are divided after Sunmi said that her former group, Wonder Girls, didn’t lay the ‘groundwork’ for K-pop — it was BTS.
Sunmi’s Twitter mentions are simultaneously popping off with praise and furious stans. The 26-year-old South Korean singer rose to fame in the K-pop group Wonder Girls (who else memorized the choreography to “Tell Me”?) but Sunmi doesn’t think the female quintet is fully responsible for K-pop’s current dominance in the music industry. The idol, who has gone solo, admitted that she “can’t believe” how her genre has changed since leaving the Wonder Girls in 2010 and temporarily re-joining in 2015. “At the time, there was no section of K-pop on Billboard,” Sunmi told the music outlet in an interview published on March 28, to which the interviewer replied, “It’s partially because of the groundwork laid by you and the Wonder Girls.” But Sunmi didn’t accept the credit. “No, BTS,” she replied.
Sunmi’s answer stunned many Wonder Girls fans, especially since the group’s 2007 hit, “Nobody,” was the first ever Korean song to sit on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart. “I feel disappointed at Sunmi for not recognizing the Wonder Girls’ achievements,” one fan tweeted, while another pointed out how long the members of Wonder Girls have been around (the group debuted in 2007, while BTS formed in 2013). “Sunmi…..you don’t need to discredit wonder girls like that….my mom even bought a cd and put it on a dvd player back that time, im just saying you all paved kpop before even now,” the fan tweeted.
But the BTS Army quickly came to the singer’s defense with kind words and purple hearts. “Nobody is diminishing the work that other idols have done, but bts have quite frankly paved the way for other kartists and sumni acknowledged that,” one BTS fan argued in a tweet. Another person pointed out, “Sunmi has been in the industry since she was 15, she majored in drama, speaks english fluently and is constantly on twitter. it’s insulting for you to tell her how this industry works and act like she doesn’t get the question she has been asked… have some respect.”
sunmi: talks about how women have it so much harder in the industry and about how much they struggle, about how much effort she puts into her work
edgy stan twt:😴
edgy stan twt: shes cancelled!! she never acknowledges wonder girls its like she s trying to erase th-
— alexia (@soIoistyerim) March 29, 2019
Wonder Girls disbanded in 2017, and Sunmi went on to release her second EP, Warning, in Sept. 2018. Her latest single “Noir” dropped on March 4, along with an accompanying music video.