Inappropriate Outfits Worn By Blackpink Members

It's no secret that the K-Pop universe is riddled with rules and regulations. As noted by CNN, K-Pop singers are often subject to strict contractual obligations, which can control even elements of the stars' private lives. This is certainly true for members of Blackpink, who face severe restrictions when it comes to their behavior. Rolling Stone has reported that entertainment agency YG Entertainment prohibits band members Jennie Kim, Kim Jisoo, Lalisa "Lisa" Manobal, and Roseanne "Rosé" Park from activities such as "dating, driving, and drinking." The reason for these rules is reportedly to prevent Blackpink from generating negative media attention (per CNN).

Unfortunately, however, these intense restrictions haven't managed to keep Blackpink's name away from controversy. Because of their status as an internationally famous girl band, Blackpink has drawn the attention of media outlets across the globe. In many cases, the band has caused scandals by failing to appease fans of diverse cultural backgrounds. 

Over the years, the band's outfit choices, in particular, have managed to offend a wide range of people, from Korean nurses to Chinese conservationists. Read on to learn more about the most inappropriate outfits worn by Blackpink.

Jennie's nurse costume in Lovesick Girls

When Blackpink released the song "Lovesick Girls" in October 2020, the response was overwhelming. Within hours of its release, the song landed a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 59. Although the "Lovesick Girls" track was well-received, the corresponding music video generated controversy. Blackpink singer Jennie appeared in the music video wearing a tightly-belted nurse's uniform and a short skirt, according to a screenshot published in Metro. She was also wearing a nurse's cap with a pink heart printed on the front.

This wardrobe choice sparked outrage among many Korean nurses. A statement released by the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union condemned Jennie's attire as disrespectful and offensive: "In the YG Entertainment group Blackpink's 'Lovesick Girls' music video ... one of the members appeared in a nurse's outfit. The cap, tight and short skirt, and high heels are completely different from an actual nurse uniform. The outfit and portrayal directly imitate the typical sexual stereotype and excuse it as a simple 'costume.'"

Blackpink's representatives at YG Entertainment quickly issued an apology to the Korean Health and Medical Workers' Union: "We express our deep respect to the nurses who are always staying by the patients' sides and fighting [on] the frontlines." The entertainment agency ultimately edited the music video to remove scenes with the offensive attire, according to Teen Vogue

Lisa wore shoes near a Hindu deity

In June 2020, Blackpink sent shockwaves through their Indian fanbase following the release of their music video for "How You Like That." As reported by Variety, the music video featured band member Lisa rapping on a velvet throne with a statue of the Hindu deity Ganesha on the floor behind her. The video also showed Lisa posing on the throne with her cream-colored boots kicked into the air.

Many Hindu fans felt that this image of Ganesha near Lisa's shoes denigrated their god and disrespected their religion as a whole. In one popular fan-created complaint template, disappointed BLINKS expressed exactly why Blackpink's representation of Ganesha was so offensive: "During Lisa's part ... Hindu deity Lord Ganesha was placed on the floor next to Lisa's feet. Not only is using a religious figure [as an aesthetic] prop disrespectful, placing Lord Ganesha on [the] floor and/or near feet is highly disrespectful in Hinduism." 

Lisa's choice to wear boots in front of Ganesha's statue added another layer of offensiveness to the video. In the Hindu religion, shoes are strictly prohibited from temples, and failure to remove one's shoes before an idol is a sign of disrespect (per Orissa Post). YG Entertainment responded to the backlash by editing Ganesha out of the video. As agency representative Cho Woo-young told The New York Times, "It was immediately edited when we became aware of it."

Blackpink members were accused of appropriating Indian culture

At least one member of the K-Pop group has offended fans by wearing a bindi on her forehead, as noted by The New York Times. In 2018, Jennie took to Twitter to share a teaser for an upcoming mini album, in which she was pictured adorned with the Hindu jewelry, according to Currentriggers. The outlet noted that many fans had bitter reactions to Jennie's style choice. One fan reportedly commented, "I've literally been too scared to wear a bindi my whole life due to the amount of backlash desi women get here in the west yet it's okay for Jennie from [Blackpink] to wear one."

This negative response reflects a growing sense of frustration towards the use of desi cultural imagery in the K-Pop world. As Indian K-Pop fan Shreya Juya told Vice, "Appropriation of desi culture by non-desi artists has been a problem since forever and K-pop isn't innocent of it, either. The problem is that the same people who scorn at Indians smelling like curry turn around and use bindis, maang tikas, and bangles for aesthetics, or mudras for their dance steps, because it's 'ethnic and hip.'"

Other Blackpink members have also been accused of appropriating Indian culture. Jisoo and Rosé have faced criticism for imitating mudras during an advertisement for curry, and Jennie was additionally accused of mocking the sacred Bharatanatyam dance (via Hype).

Blackpink created some hanbok controversy

Some of the styles used in Blackpink's 2020 "How You Like That" music video were ultimately deemed inappropriate. However, the use of traditional Korean clothing throughout the video was arguably one of the most influential fashion choices of the year. According to The Korea Times, Blackpink members wore a modern version of the classical Korean hanbok, which allowed them to revive the historical style with a contemporary twist. On an international level, the reformed hanboks were extremely well-received. 

While the modernized hanbok received positive feedback globally, it also generated a heated debate in South Korea. A report by Daily News Egypt revealed that Blackpink's designer Kim Danha faced some difficulties in designing the hanboks, since her creations broke with Korean traditions. According to Danha, the contemporary hanboks were controversial because they challenged the Korean notion that hanboks should be ladylike. The designer told Daily News Egypt, however, that her concept wasn't meant to offend: "Just because I am making a modern version of hanbok doesn't mean that I disrespect the tradition or take it lightly. I just wanted to show to people that hanbok has more than just feminine traits."

The gamble ultimately paid off for Danha. As the designer revealed in the same interview, "[The Blackpink] project was a life changing experience as it was a good venue for me to promote hanbok around the world and also my brand Danha got publicity."

Lisa wore box braids

The controversial style choices of Blackpink members go beyond outfits, shoes, or jewelry. Lisa has also faced significant backlash for the way she styled her hair in the music video for the hit single "Money," as reported by Yahoo! News. Released in 2021, the music video features Lisa rapping on an abandoned road. Throughout her performance, the Thai K-Pop star flips her around her bright red box braids. 

This use of a traditionally Black hairstyle in a K-Pop video left a sour taste in many fans' mouths. As noted by Micky, Lisa's hairstyle wasn't the only part of the "Money" video that heavily borrowed from Black cultures. According to the outlet, the song's lyrics used elements of AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Lisa was also accused of using a stereotypical Black accent throughout the video.

When YG Entertainment failed to generate an apology for the hairstyle, one fan decided to join Lisa for a fan meet video call (per Yahoo! News). In the call, the fan reportedly educated Lisa about why some BLINKS felt that the pop star's behavior was problematic. The singer listened attentively, before issuing a candid, unscripted apology to the fan who called in. The fan later uploaded Lisa's comments to YouTube. "I didn't know. I didn't have, like, bad intentions," Lisa said in the apology video. "I thought the hairstyle [was] very cool ... that's all. But I feel so bad ... I'm very sorry [that] someone ... they got hurt." Lisa further explained that she would be more careful in the future, and thanked the fan for bringing the matter to her attention.

Lisa's mention of her designer clothes blacklisted Pink Venom from the radio

Despite the occasional fashion faux pas, Lisa is considered an international style icon. The Blackpink singer was selected to be the first-ever brand ambassador for luxury French fashion house Celine, as reported by Nylon. And she accepted the honor with humble enthusiasm. "To me, Celine is unrivaled, and [the brand's creative director] Hedi Slimane has such a multifaceted talent — from clothing design to photography. ... It's truly an honor and pleasure to be able to work with Hedi as Celine's first ambassador," she said (via Vogue UK).

With such a positive beginning, it seemed that nothing in this partnership could go wrong. Since signing with the brand, Lisa has walked multiple Celine runways and even traveled to Paris, according to Russh. However, the rapper's relationship with Celine ultimately created some trouble for Blackpink. In the second verse of the band's 2022 hit "Pink Venom," Lisa mentions the French brand by name: "This the life of a vandal / Masked up and I'm still in Celine."

These lyrics may seem harmless, but in a Korean context, the reality is much more complicated. By including this brand sponsorship in her song, Lisa broke article 46 of the Korea Communications Standards Commission's Broadcasting Regulations (per NME). As a result, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) declared "Pink Venom" to be "unfit for broadcast."  According to The Straits Times, YG Entertainment could still appeal the decision. However, the entertainment agency has not applied for any kind of reconsideration.

Jennie shared a rare photo of herself in a bikini

Considering all of Blackpink's clothing scandals, a band member's choice to wear a bikini might not seem like a big deal. However, that wasn't necessarily the case for Jennie. In 2019 when the K-Pop idol posted a modest bikini picture on her Instagram, she deleted the photo almost as quickly as she posted it (per Koreaboo). This choice to delete a beachside photo may seem random, but many BLINKS have probably noticed that band members tend to post exceptionally modest beach photos. Lisa, for one, has been spotted seaside in a floor-length black cover-up (via Kpop Starz). Meanwhile, Jennie's Instagram displays her preference for swim-friendly bodysuits. 

The reason for this relative absence of bikini shots may have something to do with the pressure faced by K-Pop stars to keep their personal lives out of the media. As a Korean music executive Bernie Cho told CNN, "Scandals involving drinking, drugs, or even dating not only make waves in the entertainment news section but also the finance news section because many of the biggest Korean music management companies are also publicly traded stocks on the Korean stock exchange. Sensational headlines can take a serious hit on the bottom line."

According to Bloomberg, YG Entertainment trades on the Korean Exchange. And while we can't know whether Jennie's bikini photo would actually impact the company's stocks, we do know that YG Entertainment is motivated to keep her name out of the media's most salacious headlines.

Blackpink members were criticized for not wearing appropriate protective gear

In 2020, Lisa, Jennie, Rosé, and Ji-soo received an avalanche of criticism for their failure to wear appropriate protective gear on a trip to Everland Zoo in Yongin, South Korea. According to BBC News, the band members went to the zoo to meet Fu Bao, the first baby panda born in South Korea. The outlet reported that Fu Bao was part of a Chinese diplomatic policy, which sends pandas around the world as a sign of friendship.

Unfortunately, however, Blackpink's trip to the zoo did little to strengthen ties with Chinese fans. As noted by the BBC report, footage of the visit shows that Blackpink members at times handled the baby panda and touched its mother without protective gloves. This goes against China's tightly-enforced panda handling policies, which require that only "qualified handlers" and "veterinarians" come into direct contact with the animal, explained China Daily.

The incident was so upsetting to conservationists that the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association issued a statement condemning Everland Zoo for allowing "entertainment-related personnel to have intimate contact with giant panda cubs." The association also requested that the zoo "stop playing and disseminating videos of [panda-related] content." Ultimately, Blackpink responded to the accusations in a statement released on Twitter. As translated by CNN, the tweet revealed the band's decision to "delay the screening of [panda-related] videos."

Jennie experienced backlash after her debut in The Idol trailer

Although Blackpink artists are best known for their musical talents, Jennie has aimed to make a splash in the acting world as well. According to Billboard, the rapper accepted a role in the HBO series "The Idol." And the K-Pop star has expressed her hope that fans would enjoy seeing her in this new light. As Jennie told Yonhap News of the role, "I feel very excited. I'll work hard, so please watch me with affection."  

Despite Jennie's hopes for a positive reaction from fans, the singer ended up receiving a mountain of criticism. When thefirst trailer for "The Idol" was released, BLINKS were quick to notice that Jennie was filmed with her hair braided into corn rows. Some fans were outraged to see the Blackpink member sporting a popular Black hairstyle, which many BLINKS view as a form of cultural appropriation (via Bollywood Life). As pointed out by the outlet, one disappointed fan tweeted, "Why does Jennie have braids? Like did you not see the backlash Miss Lisa had when she did it?"

The fan was, of course, referencing the controversy that ensued when Lisa wore red box braids in the music video for "Money." While Lisa publicly apologized for her error, Jennie has remained silent about the issue. Neither HBO nor YG Entertainment has released any kind of apology or statement addressing the cultural appropriation allegations. 

Lisa revealed Blackpink clothes make her uncomfortable

Blackpink's Lisa has long made headlines for her elegant fashion sense — Vogue even declared that the K-Pop idol "mastered French girl style." However, the Thai star revealed that her relationship with clothing is much more complicated than many of her admirers imagine. In an episode of the "Zach Sang Show," Lisa confessed that she wasn't always thrilled about her wardrobe options for Blackpink group performances. "Sometimes I felt uncomfortable with some clothes," she told the outlet.

While it should never be considered "appropriate" for a performer to wear something that makes her uncomfortable, Lisa managed to maintain a positive attitude about these difficulties. On the "Zach Sang Show," Lisa opened up about how she used her solo song "Lalisa" to regain a sense of control over her fashion choices: "I choose the color for my album ... [the] design and what I want to wear. I tell my stylist ... maybe the makeup, the hair look. Everything is, like, I design. ... It's nice to get to know me better. Like, get to know what I like and what I don't."

Ultimately, Lisa feels that her solo project has given her the chance to be who she wants to be. In the same interview, she explained how much better she feels wearing the wardrobe she selected for "Lalisa." Lisa stated: "For me, in the solo ... I try to choose what I feel comfortable with."