K-pop is taking the global music scene by storm and one artist is making sure it’s got queer representation: The artist known as Holland dropped his debut single, “Neverland,” this weekend, addressing his sexuality head-on with a video that sees him riding the emotional currents of a romance with another boy.
The track is a first for South Korea, which is still not fully comfortable with same-sex relationships. In fact, a kiss between Holland and his beau earned the “Neverland” video a 19+ rating.
He doesn’t have the major label backing of other K-pop idols, but Holland’s debut has caught the public’s attention: Released on Sunday at midnight (Korea time), the “Neverland” video has already amassed more than 1.1 million views on YouTube.
“I don’t know if many of you understand how important this debut is,” wrote viewer. “This is not just about him, it’s about the entire culture. Korea is extremely closed-minded when it comes to things like that, so the company promoting him as a gay idol is a good thing. Not many agencies in Korea would put money on people like him. It shows how willing he is to make it less of a taboo discussion.”
Using #HollandDebutDay hashtag, fans on Twitter shared their love and support.
Support his music
Respect him as an artist
Protect him against all the stigma
— 糖 | you did well (@nipponcitrus) January 21, 2018
— eliza | amber (@ptgsfx) January 21, 2018
in this household we love and support holland and the actor who appeared in his mv #HollandDebutDay
— m,,, (@pjmthicc) January 21, 2018
LGBT entertainers are still a rarity in Korea, though out R&B artist Marshall Bang, a.k.a. MRSHLL, made his debut last fall.
Below, watch the video for “Neverland.”