What you might not know about BLACKPINK

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“BLACKPINK in your area!” The battle cry that starts so many of this K-pop group’s songs is becoming more accurate with each passing day. Just a few years ago, Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rosé were unknown but hopeful singers in South Korea. Then, the four became an overnight sensation. Fans — referred to as “Blinks” — helped launch BLACKPINK to previously impossible heights. The band’s official YouTube channel is one of the most followed in the world with over 50 million subscribers. This helped their 2020 single “How You Like That” smash the record for most views in the first 24 hours on YouTube at 86.3 million, according to Variety.

After an incredible set at the 2019 Coachella music festival, BLACKPINK continued their rise in the music industry. The ladies have been featured on songs by Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa, and in 2020 they released their debut LP The Album featuring Selena Gomez and Cardi B. For an even deeper look into the unprecedented success of this super group, Netflix has created a behind-the-scenes documentary, BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky. Are you ready for a new Netflix profile icon? As of the documentary’s October 14, 2020 release date, you can choose your favorite of these four singers on the app, as revealed via Netflix’s official Instagram.

Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rosé — who’s your favorite? How about your favorite song? Whether you’re new to the group or you’re a fervent Blink, it’s time to find out what you might not know about BLACKPINK.

The early years of BLACKPINK

Jisoo, Rosé, Lisa, and Jennie started off as trainees for YG Entertainment, which was founded by Yang Hyun-seok. Yang was a member of Seo Taiji and Boys, whose 1992 debut album would go on to “be seen as the dawn of K-pop,” according to Pitchfork. The label was responsible for the biggest names in K-pop, like the all-female group 2NE1 and Psy of “Gangnam Style” fame. At YG Entertainment, all four members passed an audition and moved in together to “train for four to six years, beating out other girls with the same ambition,” according to Elle.

Jennie was the first member of the group, and remembered that she “got to watch everybody come in.” Lisa — known for her singing and dancing — came next, followed by former actress Jisoo, and finally Rosé. It was clear that their talents perfectly complemented one another. “It wasn’t ever forced,” Rosé told BBC News. She added that the experience was like spending time with a sister and “was pretty normal. We had a lot of fun!” Jennie added that the four “literally spent more time with each other than our family” in those early days. “We know each other just so much, which makes it easier for us to work as a group for our music and other stuff as well,” she added as Lisa hugged her. 

All their hard work and dedication paid off as BLACKPINK became “the first girl group in seven years out of YG Entertainment,” according to Vogue.

The fabulous and fashionable four

All four ladies from BLACKPINK were known for their fashion right from the start. Of course, the biggest names in fashion rushed to join forces with the singers as their popularity grew. For Jennie, whose fans sometimes call her “the human Chanel” according to South China Morning Post, her dream came true in 2019. That’s when she attended the Chanel Spring/Summer 2020 show in Paris, as one of the newest faces of the historic brand. Even better, she sat in the front row next to the “empress of fashion, dame Anna Wintour,” as covered by fashion reporter Loic Prigent. Amazingly, many photographers still had no idea who she was, as Prigent pointed out. This fashionista also partnered with popular eyewear brand Gentle Monster for her “Jentle Home Collection,” via the brand’s website.

Meanwhile, Rosé landed a deal as a global ambassador for the iconic French house Saint Laurent. “I’ve been a fan of Saint Laurent and Anthony for a while so when the opportunity came up I was excited to be a part of it,” she told Vogue, referencing Anthony Vaccarello, the house’s creative director. Vaccarello succeeded the previous director, Hedi Slimane, who moved to another French house, Celine. And Slimane knew of the perfect fit to represent the brand. Lisa, the most followed BLACKPINK member, became the first global ambassador for Celine. To round out the famous French brands, Jisoo signed on as a face for Dior Beauty. She loves to wear Dior, especially the stylish “baker-style cap,” according to Vogue.

Behind the most epic live show of BLACKPINK's career

In the desert of California, the ladies from BLACKPINK made history for Korean music. At Coachella 2019, they became the “first K-pop female group to ever play the show,” as Billboard reported. “We were all very nervous because we heard we were going to perform a few months before the festival,” Rosé revealed to BBC News. The ladies knew about the popular event and “always wanted to go watch” other artists, so “just being invited to perform was a really big thing for us.” Naturally, fans went crazy for the performance, which created a “future vision for music festivals,” Vulture raved. Other artists were also swept up in admiration for the foursome. Among the famous celebs who hung out with BLACKPINK were Billie Eilish, their friend Ariana Grande, Jaden Smith, and his famous parents, according to E! News

Will Smith loved the ladies’ performance, telling them, “You guys are so great,” as Jennie recounted to Elle. “That was a starstruck moment for me, definitely. Like, Will Smith knows us. Wow,” she confessed. But this wasn’t the first time BLACKPINK met the superstar. In the aforementioned BBC News interview, Rosé recalled that Smith had seen them in their early days at the headquarters of their management group, YG Entertainment: “He came by the company” and “we actually had a chance to say hi.”

BLACKPINK joins up with the biggest names in pop

BLACKPINK’s first breakout collaboration came on Dua Lipa’s self-titled debut album in 2018. The result, “Kiss and Make Up,” reached the Billboard Hot 100 at 93, and hit 36 on the U.K. Singles chart, according to The Hollywood Reporter. How did the match-up come to be? Lipa’s fans actually introduced the British star to the K-pop group. She told Billboard, “I met the BLACKPINK girls in Seoul, in Korea, and I was like, ‘They’re just so cool,’ and we got on so well together.” After drafting a song and setting out to find the perfect pairing, Lipa remembered thinking, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if I just sent them a song?”

For Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album Chromatica, she called on BLACKPINK to help with a song, “Sour Candy,” which featured the four K-pop stars singing along with Gaga to a pulsating beat. Naturally, appearing with a pop icon was special to all the members of BLACKPINK. “I remember we used to say to each other, ‘Let’s make this kind of great music someday,'” Jisoo told Billboard about Lady Gaga, adding that “there are so many things to learn from Lady Gaga.” And Lady Gaga is willing to teach — in an interview with Zane Lowe, she talked about being a role model to BLACKPINK and other young female artists in the pop scene. “I’m not in competition with anyone,” Gaga explained. “I want everyone to win.”

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