I can tell you the exact time and place where iKON came into my life.
I was almost twenty and on a spontaneous, quarter-life crisis trip to Seoul. It was my second time, but my first time as an adult, which meant no one to hold my hand or tell me I was spending too much money on Etude House cosmetics.
There I was, barely five foot and in my favourite pleated skirt, on the way back from visiting a Shinsegae in Gwanak-gu. There was a stain on my turtleneck from eating bibimbap too quickly. I’m pretty sure I was trying to rub it clean, waiting for the traffic lights to change, when I heard it:
“익숙한 스킨쉽에도 심장이 뛰고
신경 쓰여 괜히.”
The light flickered green and nameless faces filtered around me, but I was stuck on that voice. When the crowd cleared I traced the footpath, to where a vendor sat, set outside a few shop fronts. It was an old man with leathery skin and a kind smile, and set up in boxes were CDs I didn’t recognise. Trot singers that I didn’t know. But overhead, he played iKON. And that much I knew.
Who hadn’t heard of iKON? At that time it was April 2016 and they had just debuted into the world like a hurricane of seven boys, seven talents, seven wonders.
Although I had seen them since WIN, knew of every time they were knocked down and each time they stood tall again, it was never personal. But thanks to an elderly trot CD salesman with a toothy smile, iKON became personal to me.
If I could go back and thank that salesman, I would. Because through all my years of being a K-Pop fan, from 2011 until now, I have never known that loving a group could be so easy. Like breathing.
It’s true, that not every moment is black and white, a lot are pale greys and uncertain shades. But the moments of vibrant red, of iKON smiling and iKONICS smiling back, those are the moments that make everything worth it.
So here I am, a writer, a dancer, a reader, a supporter, but most importantly, an iKONIC and the new Kony’s Island member.
I am excited to be a part of a movement that promotes positive content for iKON, and you’ll probably see me behind a lot fluff pieces, feature articles and stories that highlight not only iKON’s influence, but iKONICS talent and commitment.
Are you ready? Showtime!