Since Blackpink made their debut back in 2016, Kpop’s monster rookies have been breaking records and conquering charts. They’ve also established themselves as international style icons, attending high-profile shows and fronting major brands—all within just a few years.
The group comprises multilingual members, allowing Rosé, Lisa, Jisoo, and Jennie to connect with their fans across the globe. While boyband BTS is nearly synonymous with Kpop these days, Blackpink certainly injects a much needed dose of Girl Power to the constantly growing scene.
With that in mind, let’s wind back time a bit and get to know the group before they reached their current success.
Blackpink – YG Entertainment Trainees
Top Korean entertainment company YG is well-known for two things: their pioneering sound and flashy fashion. Before Blackpink, the sole girl group signed with the company was 2NE1—considered legends when it comes to Kpop. Even before they disbanded, however, there’s been much hype surrounding a new group of trainees set to follow in their footsteps. Touted as “the next 2NE1”, these girls already had many eyes on them long before they were set to debut.
While the idea of training with a world-renowned company might sound glamorous, the reality was far from it. Trainees spend hours honing their craft; from singing to dancing, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into the formation of groups. In fact, Blackpink Jennie underwent this kind of training for six years—the longest of all the members—before she even got to debut.
Of course, there’s also a chance that these trainees might not debut at all. We’ve heard plenty about youngsters devoting years to their dreams, only for it to be crushed later on. Needless to say, there’s no guarantee that all of the trainees would make it on stage. Some Kpop trainees quit due to the difficulty of the training, while others simply don’t make the cut and get “kicked out” of the company.
It’s a cutthroat process and fortunately for the Blackpink members, they’re among the lucky ones who made it.
Park Chae-Young aka Blackpink Rose
Blackpink’s main vocalist and lead dancer trained for four years before officially becoming part of the group. Before this, she had been living in Melbourne, Australia with her family and was actively performing in church choirs. Rose is a multi-instrumentalist, capable of playing both the piano and the guitar.
At the age of 15, she went to an audition for YG entertainment following a suggestion from her father. She was ranked first out of 700 participants and within two months of her audition, she was signed with the label and was preparing to move to Seoul. Owing to her talent, she was featured in G-Dragon’s song “Without You” within the same year!
Rose has also appeared in several South Korean variety programs—particularly those that show off her unique voice. This includes King of Masked Singer and Fantastic Duo 2, for which she received much praise. She is also set to debut as a soloist come September 2020.
Currently, Rose is a global ambassador for Saint Laurent among other brand endorsements.
Lalisa Manoban aka Blackpink Lisa
Lisa is Blackpink’s main dancer, lead rapper, and sub vocalist. She is also the only foreign member in the group. The Thai artist was the only individual to pass the YG auditions held in her home country—besting 4,000 applicants in the process. She was signed by the label as a trainee in 2011.
Before receiving training, Lisa had already been taking dance classes in Thailand since she was only four years. In fact, she was part of a dance crew We Zaa Cool and frequently joined dance contests while growing up. She was also friends with BamBam of Got7 prior to his debut with the Kpop boy group.
Lisa is multilingual, able to speak Thai, Korean, English, and basic Chinese and Japanese. She is also the most prolific among Blackpink members when it comes to endorsements. She’s a muse for Hedi Slimane the creative director of Céline, and is also a global ambassador for Bvlgari among others.
Kim Jisoo aka Blackpink Jisoo
Jisoo is the lead vocalist and visual of the group. At 25 years old, she’s also the eldest out of the four. Among the Blackpink members, she is the most active when it comes to acting projects. Before her debut with the group, she has had cameo appearances in top dramas, including The Producers. Much like other members of the group, she is also multi-lingual and can speak Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and basic English.
She signed with YG Entertainment back in 2011. Before this, she was attending high school at the School of Performing Arts Seoul. In 2018, Jisoo was ranked at tenth place when it came to the most popular idols in South Korea—perhaps this is also why she’s the member who has the most number of local advertisements. This includes ads for Nikon, Smart Uniform, LG electronics, and Samsonite with actor Lee Min-ho.
Jisoo has global impact as well. In fact, she topped the ranking in engagement posts for Women’s Wear Daily, passing both Kylie Jenner and Rihanna. Currently, she is a South Korean ambassador for Dior Beauty. Has 26.4 million followers.
Kim Jennie aka Blackpink Jennie
Known to fans as Jendeukie, Jennie is the group’s main rapper and lead vocalist. Aside from training the longest, she also received much interest from netizens even before debuting. This was only fueled by the release of her video covers on YG Entertainment’s YouTube Channel. Before she became a YG trainee, however, Jennie was on the path to becoming a lawyer or a teacher. Her parents sent her to study overseas, first in New Zealand with plans to move her to Florida after.
Jennie was around 14 years old when she confessed to her family about wanting to make a career in music. Fortunately, they were supportive of her, and she moved back to South Korea where she auditioned for YG. Jennie was signed in 2010 and began training the same year. Among the Blackpink members, she’s the only one who has released a solo single aptly called “Solo”. The song managed to top charts and even won several awards for the singer.
Jennie is also considered to be a top fashion influencer and is the ambassador for Chanel in South Korea. She also consistently tops the brand recognition ranking for girl group members in the country.
Who is the Leader of Blackpink?
Unlike other Kpop groups that have a designated leader, Blackpink is among the few which doesn’t have one. Instead, each member brings their own unique charm and skill to the table in order to create the group’s strong image.
With all their individual and group activities combined, what is the current Blackpink net worth? Hypebae reports that the group has earned an estimated $32 million, with each member worth around $8 million for the music earnings alone.
Blackpink Music and Latest Comeback, How You Like That
When it comes to Blackpink’s music it’s hard to pin down a single genre. They’ve played with a number of different styles with each Blackpink comeback, surprising fans every single time. While their group identity primarily revolves around the “girl crush” style, which is less cute and more urban, they have shown their musical versatility as well. After all, the group is supposed to represent duality. Lisa and Jennie are in charge of “Black”, which is their tougher image. While Rose and Jisoo are in charge of “Pink”, their more cheerful and feminine side.
Check out some of the most viewed Blackpink music videos below:
Blackpink – Whistle
Released in 2016 as part of their first album, Square One. The song is the B-side to their widely successful debut single, “Boombayah”.
Blackpink – Playing with Fire
Released in 2016, this song was included in their album Square Two. This is the B-side to one of their slower songs, “Stay”.
Blackpink – As if it’s Your Last
This single was released in 2017. Jisoo describes the song as having a “Pink” concept, as opposed to the “Black” concepts heard in prior releases.
Blackpink – Ddu-Du Ddu-Du
Released in 2018, the music video for this song has become the fastest Kpop music video to reach 1 billion views. As of June 2020, it has amassed over 1.2 billion views. It was released with The Square Up EP, along with other chart-toppers such as “Forever Young”, “Really”, and “See U Later”.
Blackpink – Kill This Love
The group continued to dominate charts in 2019 with the release of “Kill this Love”. It broke the record for most music video views within 24 hours. It topped charts in over 27 countries as well. However, the music video for “Kill This Love” was banned in South Korea for violating the country’s Road Traffic Act—pointing to a scene where Rose is seen driving a fast car without a seatbelt.
Blackpink – How You Like That
Released in June 2020, “How You Like That” marked close to a year since the last Blackpink comeback. Much like before, the single achieved an “all-kill” or all top ranks across various South Korean music platforms. It is the first pre-release for the group’s second studio album. This video earned a whopping 86.3 million views in a day, setting multiple new Guiness World Records for the most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours, the most viewed music video on YouTube in 24 hours, and the most viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours by a K-pop group, respectively.
It’s only been four years since their debut, but this group and its individual members have already weathered quite a lot of controversies.
Ganesha in How You Like That MV
The most recent of which is the supposed offensive content in their newest MV for “How You Like That”. Both fans and non-fans of the group expressed that the appearance of the Hindu deity Ganesha in the video is disrespectful to the Indian culture.
The group’s management responded swiftly, editing out the symbol from the video.
Fan Protests Demanding Better Treatment for Blackpink
To date, the group has released 14 original songs and this has certainly made fans, collectively referred to as Blinks, unhappy. Many believe that the lack of proper promotion has jeopardized the group’s potential for even bigger success. And who do they blame for it? Blackpink’s management.
Fans have taken their sentiments to the street as well. Just last year, a group of them leased a truck to drive around the neighborhood YG Entertainment is located. The truck was plastered with the sign “Blinks Demand for Blackpink” and also played a video outlining what Blinks are demanding for their favorites.
This was followed by a worldwide trending hashtag #BLINKSDemandForBLACKPINK, showing just how displeased they were about the company’s management of the group. With former YG president Yang Hyun-Suk’s exit from the company last year, perhaps this request from the group’s fans will finally be heard.
Blackpink World Tour
Even before their highly-praised performance at Coachella, Blackpink members have been making waves when it comes to the tour scene for a few years now. They have had two headliners, starting with 2018’s Arena Tour to promote Blackpink In Your Area, their first Japanese studio album.
There were a total of eight shows in various cities in Japan, including Chiba and Osaka. Their encore performance was held at the Kyocera Dome. The tour was attended by over 75,000 fans from Japan and overseas.
With the release of follow-up albums, Blackpink embarked on a second tour which started in Seoul, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Philippine, Singapore, Malaysia, Macao, and Taiwan for the locations in Asia.
Their North American shows included stops in Inglewood, Rosemont, Hamilton, Newark, Duluth, and Forth Worth. This was followed by Europe, where they had performances in Amsterdam, Manchester, London, Berlin, Paris, and Barcelona.
Oceania was the next stop for the Blackpink World Tour, with concerts in Melbourne and Australia. They had encores in Asia, including stops in both Thailand and Japan. The tour lasted from November 2018 to February 2020. Quite the busy year for the group and their Blinks!
#SELPINK – Blackpink and Selena Gomez Collaboration
From rumor to reality, the much-awaited collaboration between Blackpink and Selena Gomez dropped on August 27, 2020 and exceeded fan expectations. The video for “Ice Cream” is a pop-colored fantasy, which perfectly compliments the song’s summery fun vibe. Did you know that Ariana Grande also worked on the song? This report was confirmed by the song’s producer, Tommy Brown.
“Ice Cream” is the second pre-release single from the girl group’s debut album slated for release on October 2. It has achieved an all-kill performance in South Korean charts and was voted fan favorite for the week Billboard—beating Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith’s latest collaboration “Falling for You”, as well as Dua Lipa and Gwen Stefani’s “Physical”.
Aside from fans trending the hashtag #SELPINK to show their love for the song, ever-supportive Ariana Grande also celebrated by sending Selena Gomez an ice cream shaped flower arrangement!
Blackpink Random Trivia:
Did you know that the primary composer for their songs is YG’s in-house producer, Teddy Park? Prior to this, he was also a member of KPop boy group 1TYM.