In Your Area: Lisa’s Cultural Choreography and the Media Shuffle

Sascha H. Funk
7 min readNov 7, 2023


Cue the stage lights and cue the drama — the kind that only unfolds when a K-pop icon takes a detour from the expected script. Imagine, if you will, Lisa of BLACKPINK, swapping her signature swag for a dose of Parisian burlesque, only to have the performance pirouette from artistic expression to an international incident. The result? A digital uproar that spread faster than the latest dance craze out of Seoul.

Now, before we go any further, let’s take a moment to savor the irony. Here we have Lisa, a star from a group whose very essence is to break the mold, doing just that — and the world couldn’t quite decide whether to applaud or appall. So, grab your popcorn (or your pearls, if you’re in the mood for some clutching), and let’s dissect this cultural conundrum that’s got everyone from netizens to fashionistas in a tizzy.

The Cultural Quake:

Lisa’s foray into the world of sultry cabaret could have been chalked up as just another day at the global office for BLACKPINK — if not for the aftershocks that followed. As it turns out, the performance, which may have been seen as a tantalizing teaser in some quarters, was deemed a full-blown faux pas in others. Specifically, our friends in China seemed to perceive the risqué routine as less Crazy Horse, more crazy, full stop.

The cultural tightrope of international superstardom is fraught with the risk of misunderstandings, and Lisa found herself walking it in six-inch heels. It’s the kind of walk that would make a Wallenda sweat; balancing the expectations of a global fanbase while navigating the sensitivities of cultural conservatism is no small feat. And when the act was done, the cultural Richter scale didn’t just register a tremor — it was off the charts.

The performance, a blend of confidence and candor, was ostensibly in line with the Crazy Horse’s storied tradition of avant-garde expression. Yet, it collided head-on with the Great Wall of Censorship, leading to a ban on Weibo that was as swift as it was stern. It seemed the digital powers-that-be were less enthused about Lisa’s brand of showmanship, opting instead for the age-old strategy of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ — or rather, ‘delete no evil.’

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The Great Wall of Censorship:

If the internet had a ‘Wonders of the Digital World’, China’s Great Firewall would surely be one of them — not for its inclusivity, but for its impeccable ability to play gatekeeper in the age of information overload. In the blink of an eye, Lisa’s Weibo became a digital ghost town, with ‘user7330454276’ left echoing in the void like a username curse. And while some cried censorship, others whispered the tired old mantra: “Well, that’s showbiz.”

In China, where social media platforms have a finger perpetually poised over the ‘delete’ button, Lisa’s virtual vanishing act was more a routine procedure than a shock and awe campaign. But let’s not ignore the elephant in the chatroom — the speed and totality of this erasure were more than a little operatic. It was as though Lisa had not just stepped out of line but had leapt over it with a defiant jeté.

Fashion Faux Pas or Faux Pearl Clutching?

Then there’s the world of high fashion, where brand image is as carefully curated as the window displays on Fifth Avenue. When Lisa’s dance made headlines for all the wrong reasons, the fashion houses she once represented seemed to collectively gasp and retreat. It was a veritable game of luxury hot potato, with Lisa suddenly cast in the role of the spud.

One could argue that these brands have all the backbone of a chocolate éclair. On the other hand, could it be that we’re witnessing a masterclass in public relations choreography? The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind of shareholder whims and consumer trends. The truth is, in the fashion industry, controversy is often the trendsetter’s companion — until it turns into a faux pas, that is.

Brands like BVLGARI and CELINE, who once adorned Lisa with their finest, now seemed to navigate the situation with a blend of balletic poise and cold pragmatism. It was a delicate pirouette, executed with one eye on the social media tempest and the other on the stock market ticker. The message was clear: in the fast-paced tango of brand relationships, when the music stops, you best find your chair.

Fanfare and Flame Wars:

In the virtual colosseum we call social media, fans suited up in digital armor, ready to defend their queen of K-pop against the onslaught of naysayers. Lisa’s supporters rallied with the fervor of a home team crowd, wielding hashtags like swords and memes as shields. The clash was a spectacle of loyalty meeting outcry, where every tweet was a battle cry, and every like, a nod of solidarity.

But let’s not overlook the flamethrowers — the critics who saw Lisa’s performance as an affront to modesty and decorum. They took to their keyboards with the same intensity as a teenager discovering caps lock for the first time. The flame wars were ablaze, illuminating the night sky of netizen nation with fiery opinions and incendiary commentaries. For those keeping score, it was a draw — with both sides claiming victory in the battle of perception versus reality.

The Media’s Merry Dance:

The media, ever the opportunistic choreographer, seized upon the narrative with the enthusiasm of a reality TV producer smelling a hit season. Headlines screamed, articles proliferated, and think pieces mulled over the implications of Lisa’s performance with the gravitas of philosophers pondering the meaning of life.

Yet, for all the hand-wringing and pearl-clutching, one couldn’t help but notice the media’s merry dance — a jig that tiptoed between sensationalism and clickbait. It was as if every editor in town had taken McLuhan’s ‘the medium is the message’ as a personal challenge to be as loud as possible. But beneath the cacophony, there was a subtle symphony playing — a tune that spoke of cultural boundaries, artistic expression, and the ever-shifting sands of public opinion.

A Dance of Dollars and Sense:

You see, at the heart of every controversy is the unspoken choreography of commerce. Celebrity endorsements are not just handshakes and photo ops; they’re marriages of marketability — till negative press do us part. When Lisa took the stage at Crazy Horse, it wasn’t just a performance; it was a high-stakes bet in the casino of public perception.

And let’s not kid ourselves, the house always wins. Brands may act out of a sense of moral duty, but more often than not, their moral compass is magnetized by the almighty dollar. The withdrawal of endorsements and the erasure of social media traces were not so much a tut-tutting of disapproval as a calculated retreat — a way to hedge bets when the chips are down. It’s the classic dance of dollars and sense, with a side step here and a pivot there, all to the rhythm of the revenue drumbeat.

The Cultural Choreography of K-pop:

K-pop the global phenomenon that’s as much about high-octane choreography as it is about earworm melodies. Yet, the cultural choreography offstage is an entirely different kettle of kimchi (sorry!). As Lisa’s saga unfolded, it highlighted the intricate dance that K-pop idols must perform, balancing their homeland’s traditions with the diverse expectations of a global fanbase.

This dance is no freestyle jam; it’s a calculated routine where every move is scrutinized. It’s as if K-pop has become the world’s most vibrant cultural exchange program, but one where the exchange is often one-sided, and the program directors are a cabal of faceless netizens and cultural critics. As Lisa learned, one misstep can catapult you from the stage of adoration to the pit of controversy. But let’s not forget, K-pop’s power move isn’t just its catchy hooks — it’s the ability to keep the performance going, even when the music gets choppy.

Lessons in Digital Diplomacy:

In the grand chess game of global stardom, digital diplomacy is the Queen — powerful, strategic, and, if you’re not careful, the first to get captured when the game goes south. Lisa’s digital debacle serves as a stark reminder that in the age of the internet, borders may be lines on a map, but online, they’re as porous as a sponge.

Media professionals, take note. This isn’t your grandma’s PR nightmare; it’s a beast of a different nature. It’s about understanding that today’s digital diplomacy requires the finesse of a diplomat and the agility of a parkour artist. It’s about crafting messages that can navigate the minefield of cultural sensitivities while maintaining an authentic voice. And, as Lisa’s case demonstrates, it’s about being ready to pivot when the digital winds change, because they can turn a breeze into a gale faster than you can say ‘tweet.’

Conclusion: The Beat Goes On:

And so, as the curtain falls on our little drama, what are we left with? A tale that’s as much a part of modern pop culture as viral memes and TikTok dances. Lisa’s performance at the Crazy Horse will be filed away in the annals of ‘Did that really just happen?’ moments, but the conversation it sparked is far from over.

As the dust settles, we’re reminded that the beat indeed goes on. Controversies come and go, brands shuffle their endorsee decks, and the world watches, waits, and then inevitably moves on to the next performance. But for those who care to look closer, there’s a lesson in every misstep, a story in every shuffle, and a reminder that in the grand dance of media and culture, every step counts.



Sascha H. Funk

Head of Media Studies | BKK | New Media & ED #Volleyball, #MuayThai. — hosting @FunkItPod | it’s not rain, it’s liquid sunshine