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He was “Forgettable” (My Night with Se7en)

by David Yi 15 December 2008 24 Comments E-mail David Yi
Me in a Boss suit, and my date in a beautiful turquoise dress.

Me in a Boss suit, and my date in a beautiful turquoise dress.

Okay, so I’ll admit it. I prepared a month for this night, the night where I’d meet Se7en and other Korean American “celebrities”. Why? Well, if I have to tell the honest-to-Johnny Walker-truth, I didn’t want to be referred to as that fugly guy who egregiously stuck out like Kim Jong Il in a sea of more than 5-feet tall, good looking people. To be more frank, I wanted nothing more than to part the yellow sea with a flicker of my hands, controlling the night and the people effortlessly. Here’s my story of a night that was definitely “Unforgettable,” how Margaret Cho paid homage to the Dear Leader, and how being described as Kim Jong Il himself wasn’t so bad. I mean after all, he is like, the biggest celebrity in North Korea, right? He’s famous.

Seeing the Korean community was like a high school reunion―in a good way. It was nice to catch up with old faces and see what old friends were up to. For instance, Aaron Yoo, Justin Chon, and Leonardo Nam, all who I styled for a photo shoot over the summer, all looked really good and it was nice to see they were doing well in the acting world (congrats Justin for Twilight!) Yul Kwon, winner of Survivor, was still the good-natured, extremely gracious, intelligent man I had met two years ago, doing a lot with the Asian political community. Suchin Pak, who’s the new face of a Dove self-esteem campaign for girls was still looking gorgeous and was now working for the Green Network. James Sun, the runner-up on The Apprentice who I had spoken on the phone with over the summer, seemed as if he was in good spirits, his new website being launched soon. Margaret Cho, the emcee for the night, was the usual obnoxious, loveable, anti-hero she had always been, performing songs about North Korea, specifically Kim Jong Il.

Justin Chon a little tipsy while Se7en and that guy from G.O.D. hug it out behind us.

Justin Chon a little tipsy while Se7en and that guy from G.O.D. hug it out behind us.

After the award show, where three prominent Korean Americans were honored (one was John Cho of Harold and Kumar fame,) and a lot of not-even-vodka-could-make-it-better performances (namely the saxophonists) was finally Se7en‘s “big” performace. Sadly, I saw many people walking out, many to the bar. And for good reason. Not only was it difficult to discern what he was singing about, he was pitchy and many times sharp. Surprisingly, he was overly-confident, and with his smug smile and cocky gestures, I, like most people, were over him. Said one (former fan): “Who does he think he is? This performance just sucks, sorry.”

Unfortunately (but fortunately for me, as I get to write about it) his air of arrogance followed him to the after party. There he was, his entourage of managers, stylists, handlers around him, shielding him off from the very people he would need to support him in his U.S. debut―his fans. He was surprisingly better looking in person, his skin lucent and perfect, glowing amidst the red-faced Asian drunks in the dark room. His suit perfectly ironed compared to my dark complexion and unkempt attire.

His manager stood in front of three eager female fans and Se7en, who apparently was a diva the entire night. A backstage volunteer told me: “He was backstage and didn’t even go onstage even when we tried to push him. He was too busy looking at his face and playing with his hair in front of a mirror.”

Finally we hunted this diva down. Se7en looks great--I on the other hand, fugalonkcious.

Finally we hunted this diva down. Se7en looks great--I on the other hand, fugalonkcious.

I inquired several questions to his manager, who quickly became noticeably terse and agitated with me. When is Se7en debuting? “January, with Lil’ Kim.” Are you sure, that’s what you said in 2007, in March of 2008, then Oct of 2008. So really, January? He rolled his eyes and replied, “yeah, that’s what I said.” Oh, so why can’t these girls take a picture with him? “Wait your turn.”

Se7en then left across the room to greet some non-Asians, giving them high-fives, exchanging handshakes. A false sense of Americanism. The female fans then followed him over. “Se7en, picture, please!” He looked at them and proceeded to walk across the room. After finally pleading with him, he smugly nodded his head with a conceited half grin. What he did next was absolutely nauseating. Instead of simply smiling and putting an arm around a person’s shoulder like a normal person posing for the camera, he turned his back sideways, cocked his head up, and put two fingers on his lips in a shushing motion.

I gagged.

When it was finally my turn to take a picture he completely disregarded me, turned his back against me as if I was some random stranger who somehow creeped beside him. Whatevs.

The night finally ended with some more dances, a little bit of soju, and plenty of free gifts.

Outside, while I was waiting for my car from the valet, I noticed Se7en standing to my left. I smiled at him and waved. Hi Se7en, I called out in English, knowing that he wasn’t comfortable with the language. ‘Good job, your English is really good. Better than Rain’s.

Are you training here? “Yes.” Where do you live? He hesitated, as if I was going to stalk him. “Downtown.” Did you like working with Darkchild, my friend, who’s friends with him said he’s very serious in the studio. “No, he’s not,” he said rather succinctly. There was no dialogue, no back and forth conversation. It was me asking him questions he didn’t care answering at a venue he could care less for, in front of Asian Americans he would rather choose not to associate with. I stood there with nothing left to say.

It got awkward. I felt like an over-eager fan. I shuddered.

I was left unimpressed, more so, disappointed.

If he was “the one,” the lone Asian trying to make it mainstream in music, he was two steps way behind, three steps too eager, and a step urgently lagging in humility.

I walked away, kicking my shoes in the dust all the while smiling–Kim Jong Il style, of course–remembering that in North Korea the small tyrant was a perfect 10.

But a “perfect 10” Se7en was not. All he was, was just that, not even an 8ight.


  • Chae said:

    Maybe se7en is tired of doing these asian only events and he wants to get around other ethnicities in America. Maybe thats why you sensed he was “tired” of being around asians.

  • Lu said:

    Critical much? Not fan of his but he is still someone is still being adjusted to the U.S. and you can’t expect anyone to be perfect. From even other encounters who don’t even know much about him, had a good impression. He does geniunely care for his fans, perhaps he had off day.

    No need for low, sarcastic remarks to make up for the bitter mood.

  • J said:

    Wow… Somehow I am not surprised at your take on him. I sensed it while he was here in Seattle as well.

    I always hoped that he’d stay the humble Se7en that he was when in Korea but I guess when you reach Hollywood it gets to you and you lose that.

    One thing I noted in my card to him was for him to stay humble no matter what.

    Wow. Thank you for sharing.

  • anonymous person said:

    thank you.

    although i’m a supporter of kpop,.

    its nice to read an unbiased perspective.


    i’d like to comment.

    you’re writing is very eloquent. ha

    seriously, you’re a good writer.

    but anyways. thanks for this perspective. i was curious as to how singer / celebrities were in a non-biased view, and you’ve provided it. :)

  • Kimbaya said:

    Lu, I don’t think this article was so “critical” as you’d like to put it. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this unbiased article. Not everyone’s going to like Se7en and as you can READ, the author isn’t biased or a “se7en-hater,” he’s just writing what happened. I mean, if he didn’t like se7en, he would definitely bash him harder. You can tell the writer wasn’t harsh and even commented that se7en was goodlooking and had good skin.

    I actually like se7en and am surprised that I like GIRLS even with lil’ kim. I’m just glad this article can provide what we as fans would really like to know. What type of people are celebrities? what are they like?
    Also, he’s a loser if he seriously thinks he can make it without asians.
    Whoever said he’s bored of them is seriously retarded.
    He needs us, and it pisses me off to think that we asians don’t matter.

    Keep writing. What other celebrities can we know about?
    Please do write!


  • shanie said:

    i met se7en in korea from the sbs inkigayo.
    my friend’s aunt works there so i was able to meet some of the singers during rehersal, one being se7en.
    when i met him, it was during his 2nd album when he was performing “2night”

    We met him, and one of the people working there introduced him to my friend’s aunt and us, and he seemed very nice and polite. he talked very formally to us. and took a picture with us. it happened several years ago, so i dont remmeber the exact details.

    however when he was on stage, my friends kept saying that he seemed very cocky. but that may be his persona when he is on stage. I don’t know.

    but the se7en i met was polite and not cocky like that at all.
    i just wanted to show the other side of him.

  • John said:

    I honestly think that it’s cool to have another opinion of se7en. He’s not all that and I think it’s realistic that he’d be diva like.

  • Seattle Girl said:

    Hm…To be honest I believe everything you stated.

    Why? Because I felt the same way when he performed in Seattle. I USED to be a fan until I met him. I have some friends who live in L.A and they would tell me that Se7en is very cocky. At the time, I defended Se7en, stating that he probably didn’t have a good day. But I was wrong.

    First of all, Seattle’s concert wasn’t successful due to snow. The venue was pretty much empty compared to the size of that place. Second of all, he didn’t interact with the crowd at all. People had to pay $65 just to be in the VIP room with him (thanks to my friend, I didn’t pay that much thankfully) and he basically ignored everybody. ALL of my friends who were at the concert think he is a cocky person. SO SAD!!!

    I just feel bad for my friends who actually paid $65 because the concert wasn’t certainly worth it. I hope he’ll become humble in the year of 2009.

  • Vicky said:

    Hum. I think I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel when non-americans come to America they think they’ll intereact with many Caucasians. for example: Some international students at my school rather befriend Caucasians rather than asian americans. My opinion: to get the american experience??. idk. btw.
    I enjoyed reading your article and found it very interesting. Justin looks cute. And in the se7en picture, you can kinda sense the cocky “I’m hot” attitude.
    But I’m sure Se7ens a nice person, but he just has to learn how to adjust to the American culture and he will find out Americans are more critical than Koreans in the music industry specially bout live singing. maybe he’ll one day realize, the people who love him now (before debut in america) were the only people in america excited for him to come, of course. ^^ But we’ll just have to see what the future has in store for se7en.

  • kat said:

    thank you so much for this
    it is interesting to read other sides of your favorite stars
    i didnt know se7en was cocky….. i guess he is
    but i will still support him!!!

  • a said:

    sounds like a middle school, “what i did over the summer” paper..not much of an article.
    there are enough sarcastic writers out there.

  • alexandra said:

    As an Caucasian American female, I want to say “THANK GOD Se7en isn’t interested in men the way the writer obviously is. A month to get ready….. sad”. Se7en’s previous work has been outstanding and I’m looking forward to his new album.

  • seoulbeats » Blog Archive » Young Journalist’s Forgettable Night With Se7en said:

    […] Angeles journalist David Yi wrote a succulently juicy account of running into Se7en at the KoreAm Journal Unforgettable 2008 awards ceremony in […]

  • Tatiana said:

    Thanks so much for this article. I’m an African American female in NJ and I love K-pop. I’m not really a fan of Se7en. I’m a big fan of Rain’s.

    In Rain’s defense, his English has gotten better. He’s working very hard at it.

    I think Rain’s debut in the US will be more successful than Se7en’s because Rain has something Se7en doesn’t, humility.

  • Se7en Is A Diva « Nic’s Blog said:

    […] To view the original entry from the journalist, click here […]

  • lalala said:

    I agreee with Tatiana! I hope Rain succeeds in the, US, and he definitely isn’t cocky.

    But I think this article was really good.

    I believe what it said cos it does seem to be quite realistic, and to be fair i never like se7en anyways…


  • Uncle Sam said:

    20 years from now Seven will have hazy half-suppressed memories of the days he tried to make it in America. Same with BoA and Rain. Who’s next! Asia won’t have any global smash hits until Chinese youth hang the commies, free Tibet, find their own Beatles, hold their own worthy Woodstock…in Tibet, and turn duck fat into gold.

  • dk said:

    David Yi, i like your article. since people are always giving se7en compliments and always pampering him you never see the true side.
    And you experienced it first hand what type of person he is.

    korean media hypes up a useless talent that will eventually fail here in the US.

    btw hows your sister doing? i haven’t seen her in a minute. when she gonna tie the knot wit dennis?? haha

  • thepopfix said:

    LOL…who is this?

  • Oy said:

    Um, there are always encounters of artists especially Rain and Boa being cocky and diva-like. But it doesn’t change my opinions on them because of fan encounters.

    You are also at fault asking dumb@ss questions. And I don’t give a crap about Se7en or his stale R&B music.

    You sound like crying f@g. You’re not a journalist, you’re biased kid.

    Wait for the karma, you’ll get it soon.

  • s said:

    i heard he’s a total diva as well. we ran into him at aqua nightclub (korean club in dc) and he thought he was the coolest new thing since sliced bread.. gag! too bad no one paid any attention to him.

  • Se7en’s New MV for Girls Single feat. Lil’ Kim « LIFM said:

    […] Se7en’s New MV for Girls Single feat. Lil’ Kim Posted in KPOP by Joanna on March 14th, 2009 Sure, we made fun of him for his ambitious 07/07/07 debut goal and then again for every one of his 6 setbacks (I pulled that number of the air, doesn’t it feel like there were 6? We’ll make it 7 for the sake of this post). Then there was that news about him being a total ass. […]

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