RANIA Become First K-Pop Girl Group to Include a Non-Asian Member
RANIA is returning to the K-Pop music scene — and they're making a history-making, language barrier-crossing move while doing so.
Following speculation of the addition of new member upon the release of a video teaser for the girl group's comeback song "Demonstrate," the group's label, DR Music, officially confirmed the news: Alexandra Reid (Alex) is indeed the final new member of RANIA.
"Introducing our final member .her name is Alex.!" they wrote.
The English-speaking, America-bred singer/rapper has steadily been working stateside for years: As a solo act, she released a mixtape called Letters To My Ex in 2012, featuring production by JR Rotem and New Boyz. And most recently, she starred in Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown's video for "You Changed Me." According to Korean media, Alex was connected to RANIA through management due to an interest in K-Pop.
"Thank you for having me, Seoul.🙏☺️ I am honored and delighted to learn and immerse myself in your culture!" Alex tweeted last night.
RANIA, which first debuted in 2011 with the Teddy Riley-produced "Dr. Feel Good" (reportedly originally meant for Lady Gaga), has since been mired in stop-and-go setbacks. Like many girl groups worldwide, RANIA experienced a significant shake-up just before announcing their comeback, including the departure of original members Saem and Jooyi and the addition of two other new members along with Alex: Hyeme and Seulji.
Back in 2013, it was rumored at the time that Larry Rudolph and Adam Leber — Britney's management team — was interested in handling their US promotions, and that the group was shooting a reality show called Road To Fame to launch their US debut album, which reportedly featured 2 Chainz and Snoop Dogg. That never ultimately happened.
While there's been some backlash on the web regarding the decision to include Alex because of the fact that she speaks English (some fans consider this a cheap ploy to attract international fans), as well as some concern about possible discrimination in South Korea because of her race, there's also been an outpouring of support for the fairly radical decision to introduce a member hailing from the West.
"its exciting to see a non asian become an idol..i just hope she works hard to learn the language and respect the culture," one K-pop fan wrote.
The RANIA comeback begins tomorrow (Nov. 5) with the release of their new music video and a comeback performance on M Countdown, according to their most recent Facebook post. We'll be watching.
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