Māori Lecturer And Filmmaker Raises Objection Over Use Of Haka In K-Pop Music Video
A new music video by immensely popular Korean pop group NCT 127, which opens with a traditional haka, has quoted controversy within days of its worldwide release. A revered Māori lecturer and filmmaker did not find the music video fascinating and termed it offensive. The single Simon Says samples three seconds of a haka at the onset of a song which ends with the cheeky line “we don’t pay no attention”.
Karlite Rangihau, who is an eminent lecturer in the Masters of Indigenous Knowledge course at Te Whare Wananga o Aotearoa and a pioneering filmmaker, says that it is another case of Māori culture being misappropriated. “The haka is upbeat and represents masculinity, but I would never use a Korean tradition in any of my work,” affirmed Rangihau. “If they came to New Zealand, or if they had a Māori in that video doing the haka, then I think it’d be fabulous,” he added.
NCT 127, a popular 10-member K-Pop hip-hop group which came into existence in 2016, features Simon Says as the lead single on their album Regulate. The group has received flak for using haka not only from Karlite Rangihau, but many Twitter users have also expressed their anger on the micro-blogging site, with one going on to state that they should “leave other cultures alone”.
“I’m from Tūhoe and if I view that music video with that lens, then I’m offended. But if I wore my Te Arawa hat, I’ll be more understanding because Te Arawa has been engaged in tourism and international cultural events for a very long time,” Rangihau explained.
This is not the first incident where the unscrupulous use of Māori culture has invited criticism. In the past, the haka and moko have been used to sell products including cars and energy drinks. Earlier this year, singer-actress Teyana Taylor promoted her new TV series Hit The Floor by gyrating to a remix of Poi E.