LOONA tapped as culture ministry's honorary ambassador

K-pop girl band LOONA / Courtesy of Blockberry Creative

12-member K-pop girl band to promote Korean culture overseas

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Following its predecessors Stray Kids and ATEEZ, K-pop girl group LOONA will represent Korean culture overseas this year, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Monday.

The culture ministry said it has named the 12-member group, comprised of Heejin, Hyunjin, Haseul, Yeojin, ViVi, Kim Lip, Jinsoul, Choerry, Yves, Chuu, Go Won and Olivia Hye, as the country's honorary ambassador to promote Korean culture abroad.

For its first act as envoy, LOONA will appear in public video clips, including a piece on "Talk Talk Korea," an international Korea-related content competition hosted by the ministry's affiliate the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS).

The videos will be released on the government body's YouTube channel, May 20 and 25, respectively.

"Newly appointing LOONA as promotional ambassador comes at the right timing as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of KOCIS," Culture Minister Hwang Hee said in a statement.

"We believe that LOONA will greatly contribute to the overseas promotion of Korea's cultural content. We hope people around the globe cope with COVID-19 exhaustion by enjoying Korea's pop culture, such as hallyu."

KOCIS has employed a K-pop band every year since 2014 with the aim of attracting publicity and interest from people overseas. BTS took the job in 2016 followed by EXO and WINNER in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

In 2019, Stray Kids was officially named as the government body's honorary ambassador, followed by rising boy band ATEEZ in 2020, which participated in national campaigns to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since its debut in August 2018, LOONA has emerged as a K-pop phenomenon. The band's third mini-album "Midnight (12:00)" topped iTunes top albums chart in 51 countries, including the U.S. and France.

LOONA made its first entry onto the Top 40 of Billboard's Pop Airplay chart with its latest all-English song "Star," becoming the second K-pop girl group after BLACKPINK to break into the chart. In January, it won the Next Generation Award at the 35th Golden Disc Awards.

It has been reported that the band is preparing for a new album in a bid to strengthen its position in the North American music market and grow its fan base in Korea.

Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr

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