K-pop star IU changes name of track after queerbaiting backlash

K-pop star UI

The management of K-pop star UI has announced the title of her upcoming single has been changed after it attracted accusations of queerbaiting.

South Korean singer-songwriter IU’s new single entitled “Love Wins” – slated for release on 24 January – has faced backlash from LGBTQ+ groups and fans over queerbaiting, with LGBTQ+ folks taking issue with the phrase used in the title due to its connotation with the LGBTQ rights movement, and particularly the fight for marriage equality.

Queerbaiting refers to a tactic used by artists, writers, showrunners and so on to attract – or bait – queer audiences with the suggestion and/or hint of LGBTQ+ content, only for that content to never materialise.

“I feel like our slogan was stolen,” one user wrote on X/Twitter in Korean.

“She shouldn’t have used the phrase of sexual minorities like that, especially when we are exposed to so much discrimination, including risk of homicide,” another posted.

In a handwritten note, IU clarified the track is about her personal journey of overcoming hatred directed at her through the love and support of her fans. However, despite this clarification, the song’s title has been updated.

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On Friday (19 January), EDAM Ent – IU’s agency – took to Instagram to announce the song had a new name: “Love Wins All”.

“We would like to inform you that the title of IU’s pre-release song ‘Love Wins’, to be released on January 24th at 6PM, is changed to ‘Love Wins All’ as of today,” the statement reads.

“We decided to change the title to respect and support everyone who loves in their various ways, and we accept the opinions of those who express concerns that precious messages might be blurred due to the title,” they wrote. 

“If there is one single thing that is exactly opposite to the message would be the word ‘hatred,’ which was mentioned in detail in the track intro which was released on January 18th.

“We deeply hope that the original message of the song is delivered without leaving any scars on anyone, as every love wins all in the world with no hatred.”

Fans had a mixed reaction to the news, with a number unhappy about the change but still supportive of the artist.

“Thank you so much for caring about your queer fans,” one LGBTQ+ person wrote, with a pride flag emoji.

“People have the right to express their opinions, and the LGBTQ community deserves support, but the attacks by some toward IU over “Love Wins” were misguided and unfair,” another fan wrote, saying it was “gracious” of the star to change the title of the song in response to the feedback.

A third said: “Love Wins was a beautiful generic concise message in this conflicted world. The people who kicked up a fuss about this needs to listen to the song wholeheartedly.”

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