Bubble tea and BTS: Inside Winnipeg's thriving K-pop fan scene
Meet some of the city's most avowed fans of the pop music that's swept the globe
CBC News · Posted: Feb 10, 2024 6:00 AM CST | Last Updated: February 10
Winnipeg K-pop fans celebrate music, friendships and cup sleeves
Winnipeg fans of Korean pop bands — K-pop — gather together to celebrate their favorite music, the artists and the friendships, over bubble tea and collectibles.
Inside The Alley, a southwest Winnipeg bubble tea café, a group of mostly young women are celebrating TaeJin.
For the uninitiated, TaeJin is a mashup of the names Kim Taehyung and Kim Seok-Jin, both members of the superstar K-pop boy band BTS. They both happen to share birthdays in the same month — hence the celebration.
The recent Winnipeg party included selfies, stickers, specially designed cup sleeves, music, and some major bonding with new friends over a common thread: their shared love of BTS and K-pop in general.
"We're bringing together two things that I really like — bubble tea and BTS. So why wouldn't I be here?" said Lani Kotyrba, one of a couple dozen fans who flooded the café on a recent weekend to celebrate all things Korean pop music.
Winnipeg's K-pop fan scene is growing, said Leeza Duong, organizer of the TaeJin party. She hosts several events a year bringing fans together.
Winnipeg's K-pop fan scene is the subject of a new micro-documentary by Laura Marie Carandang,19, and three of her 18-year-old classmates in the Create program at Sisler High School in Winnipeg.
Sisler Create is a post-high school program that trains students in the creative digital arts, including filmmaking.
The short documentary was produced as part of CBC Manitoba's Project POV: Sisler Create, an ongoing video storytelling collaboration.