This is 2020…..the year of perfect vision and, with it, hopefully comes greater clarity. It’s time we take off our rose tinted glasses and see things for what they really are. Time to stop burying our heads in the sand and avoiding facing reality. Time to step up and care for our celebrities and idols as human beings. They’ve given us as fans so much and now it’s time for us to give back to them.
Lee Eun Joo (2005): Actress in Taegukgi and The Scarlet Letter. Died at age 24 after battling depression. “Even though I live, I’m not really alive.”
U;Nee (2007): A woman with a difficult childhood who appeared on Grown-Ups Just Don’t Understand and began to rise in popularity after her second album Call Call Call. Died at age 25 after suffering from depression and receiving online attacks by netizens over plastic surgery rumours. “I feel everything is empty. I am again walking down a path to reach a destination that I don’t know.”
Jeong Da Bin (2007): Actress in Cats on the Roof and He Was Cool. Died at age 26 after receiving countless malicious online attacks regarding her physical appearance. “It hurts so much that I feel like I’m getting seasick. My head hurts so much that I start to tear.”
Choi Jin Sil (2008): ‘The Nation’s Actress’, she won the 33rd Grand Bell Award for Best Actress. Died at age 39 after online accusations that she was a loan shark who contributed to the death of a fellow actor. She left two children behind. “I’m sorry. Please take care of my children no matter what happens.”
Kim Daul (2009): Model who appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and was in season three of I Am a Model. Died at age 20 after a long struggle with insomnia, depression and stresses related to the fashion industry. “Mad depressed and overworked, the more I gain, the more lonely it is. I know I’m like a ghost. Say hi to forever.”
Jang Ja Yeon (2009): Actress notable for her role in Boys Over Flowers. Died at age 29. Surrounding her death were allegations that she was a victim of extreme physical and sexual abuse. Just one hour before her death, she told her sister she was under ‘overwhelming stress’ and ‘wanted to die’.
Kim Jong Hyun (2017): Singer-songwriter, record producer, radio host, author, and main vocalist of SHINee. Died at age 27 after a long battle with severe depression. “The depression that has slowly eaten away at me has finally consumed me, and I couldn’t beat it.”
Jeon Tae Soo (2018): Actor most known for his role in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Died at age 33 after battling depression he had been treated for previously. He just wanted to be known for his skills in acting and not just as the younger brother of Ha Ji Won.
Choi Jin Ri (2019): Actress, singer, model, former member of f(x), and trailblazer. Died at age 25 after struggling with depression, panic disorder, social phobia, online hate comments and cyber bullying. Sulli suffered from malicious attacks and hatred from online communities for years despite pleas to her agency to do something about it; she left a handwritten note expressing her feelings prior to her death.
Goo Hara (2019): Singer, actress, and former member of KARA. Died at age 28 after struggling with depression and malicious online attacks surrounding her case against Choi Jong-bum for assault, blackmail and filming an explicit video without her consent. Hara had attempted suicide previously in May of that year. She left behind a handwritten note.
TEN CELEBRITIES IN THE LAST 15 YEARS. Ten people who struggled so hard that they felt death was their only option. Ten men and women who took their own life after battles with mental illnesses, malicious attacks online, and hatred from so-called fans. Ten actors, actresses, singers, and models who were under so much pressure to be the perfect human being and to sit on the pedestal their ‘fans’ had put them on. Ten human beings with friends and family that the system failed.
How many more do we need to mourn? How many more will be lost before we all collectively get our heads out of our asses and realize that something is wrong; that something needs to change? How many more funerals will be attended, how many caskets carried by loved ones, how many burials? When do we wake up and decide that enough is enough?
The year is now 2020. This is the year of perfect vision. I’m calling out to all of you: everyone who listens to kpop, watches dramas, attends concerts, buys albums, votes on award shows. I’m calling out to all of you to wake this industry up and see what they’re doing. Our idols are being bred as cash cows to be used to make as much profit as possible before being thrown away when their use is up. I’m challenging all of you to get up and take a stand: let’s make these companies, and this industry, see what they’re doing to the HUMAN BEINGS under their care.
Let’s start asking them these questions before it’s too late. Make them aware of the struggles their idols are going through because this system that we have now is not working. This system allows people to spew out their hatred without repercussions. This system does not give help to its celebrities who are battling critical mental health issues. To this system, celebrities are worth more dead than alive and that is unacceptable.
How many more tears need to be shed before change is made? This is 2020…..the start of a new decade. Let’s make this one count.