Miami will host a Korean music and pop culture convention on Saturday, which organizers say will be the first event of its kind on the East Coast.
Kpop Con Miami, which will be held from 11 a.m. until midnight at the Miami Convention Center, will feature movie screenings, games, dancing, panels, contests and more.
K-pop, a South Korean genre that consists of dance, electronic and hip-hop music, has been around for decades. But it wasn’t until recently that it became a worldwide phenomenon.
“I like K-pop music because it actually talks about real issues, but it’s not too provocative,” said Denzel Williams, 21, who plans to attend the convention.
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The idea for the convention was proposed in March, when Ted Kim and his wife Jiyoung, the CEOs of a merchandise vendor Kpoppin USA, approached South Florida Kpop Fans, a local Facebook group, about co-producing the event.
“It was something we put together real quick,” said Jiyoung Kim, adding that the convention was planned to occur the day after Korean boy group Block B features a concert at the Fillmore in Miami Beach.
Block B is one of the first major K-pop acts to perform in the southeastern region of the United States, and many people are coming from around the country to attend the show.
The Kims have completely funded the event, while members of the South Florida Kpop Fans are handling all of the planning and scheduling.
“We’ve always hoped to do something on this scale, if not bigger in the future,” Jiyoung Kim said. “It’s exciting, and we’re hoping to try our best to fulfill everyone’s expectations.”
K-pop concerts and events have been held in California, New York and New Jersey, states that have higher populations of Korean-Americans.
But not all K-pop fans are of Korean ethnicity.
Bianca Matheson, 22, who created the Facebook group two years ago, said most of the 773 members are not Korean.
“The main point is that we are fans who are organizing it. This is a really exciting and groundbreaking event,” said Matheson, the main event coordinator. “In Miami, we don’t have a large Korean community but wanted to provide K-pop entertainment for the fans. There’s definitely a K-pop interest here.”
Kpop Con Miami will feature many contests, including a singing showcase, a dance competition, as well as a dance party at the end of the night.
Matheson will also be performing with the members of GPK, one of the first K-pop dance cover crews in Miami that she created three years ago. GPK, also known as “Guilty Pleasure K-pop,” specializes in copying the costumes and dances from music videos of groups such as EXO, Girls Generation and Block B.
The convention will allow for fans to be active participants throughout the day’s activities.
Williams, who studies dance at Miami Dade College and aspires to choreograph a dance crew in South Korea, will be one of the judges for the dance contest.
“I’m really excited because it’s the first convention and I’m gonna be a part of it,” he said.
Both Kpoppin USA and the South Florida Kpop Fans want Kpop Con Miami to become an annual event.
“It will be really fun to reach out to all of the other K-pop fans out there,” said Cynthia Nunez, 20, one of the convention coordinators. “I’ve met so many friends through K-pop. We’re like one big happy family.”