Posted : 2010-01-14 19:07
Updated : 2010-01-14 19:07

Tiger JK Slams Racism Here

Hip-hop singer Tiger JK
By Cho Jae-hyon
Staff Reporter

Popular hip-hop singer Tiger JK said he has often encountered racism in South Korea just like he did in the United States.

Appearing on the MBC nightly talk show ``Mureuppak Gru'' hosted by comedian Kang Ho-dong Wednesday, Tiger JK said he was shocked by racial remarks uttered by Koreans about his African American colleague rapper who came here and performs with him.

``I returned to Korea in the late 1990s for the first time in about 10 years. At that time, I heard that Korea is a nation of etiquette that welcomes everybody,'' he said. ``But it was not. I came across racism here too. I was often told by many Koreans not to go along with the `nigger.' It was a shock.''

Tiger JK (real name: Seo Jung-kwon), the founder of hip-hop group Drunken Tiger, immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with his family. He later witnessed the violence between Korean-Americans and blacks during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

The rapper has been an outspoken critique of racism.

He once had beef with American rapper Ice Cube who was critical of Koreans in his controversial song ``Black Korea.'' The lyrics of the song, released one year before the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, describe how Korean-Americans are rude to blacks. In response, he and other Korean rappers released ``Call Me Tiger.''

Tiger JK formed Drunken Tiger in 1998.

Rubber Ring Proposal

During the program, he also revealed how he proposed to his wife and popular singer Yoon Mi-rae.

``At that time, I was too poor to buy a ring so I proposed with a rubber ring. After I served supper to her, I kneeled and told her, `Please, be with me forever as I will later change this rubber ring to a real ring you want.'''

He recalled that Yoon broke into tears at the proposal he thought was far from romantic. ``She looked so endearing. So, we went to a traditional market and bought 25,000-won fake rings.''

On the proposal, Yoon, who was invited to the show as a surprise guest, said, ``It was okay as I had no fantasy about marriage and a firm belief that we would be together for our entire lives.''

He also talked about how he battled and overcame transverse myelitis in 2006.

타이거JK 한국에서 인종차별 느껴

드렁큰타이거 타이거JK가 미국에서와 마찬가지로 한국에서도 인종차별을 느꼈다고 털어놨다.

타이거JK는 13일 방송된 MBC '황금어장 ― 무릎팍도사'에 출연해 "90년대 말 한국에 10년 만에 돌아왔다"며 "돌아올 때 내가 기대한 한국은 동방예의지국에 누구나 환영해주고 반겨주는 나라였다"고 말을 꺼냈다.

그는 "하지만 내 생각과 한국은 달랐다. 충격이었다"며 "한국에서도 인종차별을 느꼈다. 같이 한국에 온 흑인 친구를 보며 '깜둥이'와 같이 다니지 말라는 말을 들었다''고 밝혔다.

본명이 서정권인 타이거JK는 12살 때 가족과 함께 미국으로 이민을 갔다. 그는 1992년 LA폭동을 목격하기도 했다.

그는 한국인을 비하하는 내용이 담긴 ICE CUBE의 블랙코리아 (Black Korea)라는 곡에 화가 나 학교에서 이 노래를 조목조목 비판하는 내용의 논문을 발표하기도 했으며, 한 힙합 축제에서 이에 대항하는 '콜미타이거' (Call me tiger)를 불러 현지 언론의 주목을 받기도 했다.

드렁큰 타이거는 1998년 결성됐다.

타이거JK는 또한 아내 윤미래에게 고무줄 반지로 애틋한 프러포즈를 한 사연을 공개해 눈길을 끌었다.

그는 ``당시 너무 가난해 반지를 살 수가 없어 고무반지로 프로포즈했다. 저녁을 같이 먹은 뒤 무릎을 꿇고 `나중에 당신이 원하는 진짜 반지로 바꿔줄 테니 영원히 같이 있어달라'고 말했다''고 기억을 더듬었다.

이에 깜짝 게스트로 초대받은 윤미래가 쇼에 나와 ``결혼에 대한 환상이 없었고 평생 같이 할 것이라는 굳은 믿음이 있어서 문제없었다''고 말했다.

타이거JK는 또한 2006년 척수염을 어떻게 극복했는지에 대해서도 설명했다.
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