Am I the only one who wasn't in the least bit surprised over news of South Korean quintet 4Minute's split last month?
After seven years together, the girls' record label, Cube Entertainment, announced that with the exception of high-profile member HyunA, the rest of the group - Gayoon, Jiyoon, Jihyun and Sohyun - have decided not to renew their contracts, leading to 4Minute's official disbandment.
Shortly after the break-up was confirmed, the dejected foursome unfollowed HyunA on their respective Instagram accounts, as if to mark an end to their professional relationship.
Jiyoon also posted a handwritten apology to fans on Instagram, saying: "I'm sorry we weren't able to end it on a beautiful note. I'll repay you... Because I cannot forget."
These actions immediately invited speculation of prior discord in the group.
It's obvious that the internal disharmony was a case of HyunA versus the rest of them.
The writing had been on the wall for a long time - and I blame Cube Entertainment for creating the unhappiness.
This is what happens when you focus all your attention on one member of a group - the bosomy, babelicious HyunA - and blatantly neglect the others.
Since 2011, HyunA had been handed ample individual work opportunities, such as releasing solo albums and appearing in Psy's 2012 viral music video Gangnam Style.
All these projects gave her massive exposure in the media and made her the face of 4Minute.
In contrast, the remaining four languished in the background like bland wallpaper.
Aside from being part of 4Minute, they didn't get to do much.
They were small potatoes that didn't register on our radar.
I bet some of you can't even tell them apart.
Such bias by a K-pop agency is not specific to 4Minute.
I see it too in younger female outfits of today, such as AOA (Seolhyun and Choa receive much more screen time than their teammates) and EXID (Hani goes on more variety shows than the other four members combined).
It's horribly unfair to the remaining girls, and I hope record labels will start tapping on the potential of each of their artists, not just a select few.
My heart goes out to Gayoon, Jiyoon, Jihyun, and Sohyun.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not plain Janes who pale in comparison to sex kitten HyunA.
They are fierce, sassy and attractive.
Whichever agency that signs them on in the future, please give these girls a chance to fly like eagles.
This article was first published on July 13, 2016.
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