K-pop girl group BLACKPINK has found the light — at least in an alternate reality imagined by Indonesian photo manipulation master Agan Harahap.
Agan Harahap, who shot to fame a few years ago for a photoshop project showing world famous celebrities like Rihanna, Paris Hilton and Justin Bieber getting into trouble with Indonesian law enforcement, has returned to form with another photoshop project featuring the quartet from K-Pop supergroup BLACKPINK, who are scheduled to perform a concert in Jakarta next week.
Drawing inspiration from BLACKPINK’s recent Shopee controversy, Agan’s photo series sees the group finding enlightenment in Islam. The series starts with a photo of BLACKPINK members being loaded onto the back of a van belonging to the Wilayatul Hisbah (Sharia police in Aceh).
In the photo’s caption, Agan wrote that BLACKPINK’s members were rehearsing for next week’s concert when authorities picked them up for questioning regarding the Shopee controversy. Jennie, one of the K-Pop group’s members, said in Javanese that she was shocked to have been arrested while she was eating gorengan (deep fried snacks) while another, Jisoo, said the officer who arrested them was handsome. They were then allowed to go home.
In the next photo, BLACKPINK holds a press conference expressing their regret over the arrest. In order to end the Shopee controversy once and for all, they decided that they are going to invite a special guest star for their Jakarta concert…
And that guest star is none other than Mamah Dedeh, a hugely popular celebrity Muslim preacher in Indonesia. In an interview, BLACKPINK’s Jennie said of the Mamah Dedeh choice: “There’s no special reason why we choose her to be featured in our concert. It’s only because her name. Mamah means mother and Dedeh means sister. We feel so close to her because she can take care of us like our mother, meanwhile at the same time we can share anything with her like our sister.”
And, to prevent further accusations that their music and dancing are destroying the fabric of morality in Indonesia, BLACKPINK announced that they would wear “traditional Indonesian attire” comprised of hijabs and modest outfits.
Speaking to Coconuts, Agan Harahap said he created the BLACKPINK series to express his frustration at overzealous censors in Indonesia.
“I am irked by people who can’t stand to see parts of the female body that are exposed even a tiny bit. And then they go on and make petitions and such,” he said.
“I’ve never liked how people go over the top like this. To the point that even a swimmer’s outfit was censored… That’s crazy.”
Despite writing “Bersambung” (To be continued) in the captions of his BLACKPINK photos, Agan said he has yet to commit himself to create more photos and continue the story for this series.
BLACKPINK’s Shopee “scandal”
In early December 2018, a journalism lecturer named Maimon Herawati sparked a debate about censorship in Indonesia after she started a petition appealing to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) to have Shopee’s previous ad — featuring “scantily clad” BLACKPINK members singing and dancing — banned because she thought the ad was “vulgar”.
Despite a huge backlash from the parts of the public (especially K-pop fans), the petition went viral, gained over 100,000 signatures and was successful in getting KPI to officially ban the ad on TV (although their ban was only issued on the day the ad was supposed to end its TV run anyways).
More recently, Shopee released a cheekily half-assed ad with BLACKPINK creatively censoring the lower half of their bodies.
BLACKPINK first scheduled one Jakarta concert on January 20, but later added another date, January 19, due to popular demand.
Credit to Agan Harap for all of the photos in this article. You can check out more of Agan Harahap’s amazing photoshop work on his Instagram page here.
This article has been updated to include an interview with Agan Harahap.