GOT7‘s BamBam has received backlash from “fans” for uploading a Black Panther-inspired photo to express his love for the film.
In this photo, BamBam wears a sleeveless, black shirt and a claw necklace in tribute to Black Panther, while crossing his arms in the “Wakanda Forever” salute.
BamBam is just one of the millions of fans who have been crossing their arms since the theatrical release of Marvel’s Black Panther.
Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman demonstrates how to give a proper Wakanda salute.
Wakanda is a fictional country within the Marvel universe, located in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is home to T’Challa, also known as the superhero Black Panther.
According to Black Panther‘s director, Ryan Coogler, the “Wakanda Forever” salute was inspired by Egyptian pharaohs and sculptures from West Africa, as well as the words “love” and “hug” in American Sign Language.
The salute, like the film itself, has is becoming a symbol of black pride and expresses solidarity with the struggles faced by people of African descent.
Everyone from sports stars to school teachers have saluted “Wakanda Forever”, but when BamBam decided to hop on this bandwagon, some netizens weren’t happy about it.
Wakanda forever. pic.twitter.com/LIZwGaRXrD
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 25, 2018
A small, but vocal, minority of BamBam followers have accused BamBam of cultural appropriation and even racism.
These netizens feel that it was inappropriate for BamBam to cosplay as Black Panther, since he is of Thai descent. They have equated BamBam’s cosplay to blackface.
This particular user feels that fans should not cosplay characters that are outside of their own race and says that by dressing up as a Wakanda character, BamBam is “wearing the race as a costume”.
While the number of critics were in the minority, they were vocal enough to catch the attention of BamBam himself, who expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
Okay…. so idol not allow to become a movie fan?
— BamBam (@BamBam1A) June 12, 2018
In response to these comments, thousands of BamBam supporters came to his defense by arguing that neither his photo nor his pose is racist in any way.
They pointed out that the “Wakanda Forever” salute is derived from a fictional culture from a fictional land and is not an actual part of history.
Other users pointed out that sending hateful messages to BamBam completely goes against the film’s intended message. Black Panther is a film meant to bring cultures together to share their differences, and it encourages viewers to find strength in unity while respecting one another.
The “fans” who attacked BamBam are just a vocal minority and could just be trolls looking to take any chance to cause controversy. However, trolling in this manner can result in undermining actual racial issues and cultural appropriation that is actually a very serious issue in K-Pop.
Fans have also pointed out that by supporting Black Panther, BamBam is also showing his support for the black community.
Really? Leave Bambam alone about liking black panther. It’s cute and I’m super happy that he loves a movie with black representation pic.twitter.com/ZquA7ERJRr
— mya (@bamprds1a) June 11, 2018
Countless fans tweeted BamBam back with messages of support and encouragement.
— #BAMBAMFOREVER 🐍 (@arsdefs) June 12, 2018
You are!! I know its hard but please don't listen to them. you can like what you like! bam panther is the best
— z0e (@jaehairybum) June 12, 2018
They hope that a few hateful comments won’t stop him from enjoying the things he loves.
You do whatever you want baby. People are always going to have something negative to say even when you didnt do anything wrong. Your real fans support you through everything 💕💕💕💚🤟🏼
— Sseunah ♡ (27 days till I see my king 👑) (@sorryimdes_) June 12, 2018
darling, it's ok to love a movie, your personal interest or choice shouldn't be affected by other people
just don't mind them, they've got nothing to do with their lives
— eyes on markjin 💚 (@markjinyeology) June 12, 2018
OMG NO YOU ARE ALLOWED!!!!!!! DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!
— aís (@ahgagyeom) June 12, 2018
Don’t worry, BamBam! Your true fans are with you, 100%!