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LOS ANGELES, Aug 12, 2018 (News Wires) — Tens of thousands of fans eagerly rode the wave of Korean pop or K-pop this weekend at a convention in Los Angeles, the world’s entertainment capital, at a time when a boy band’s success in America is giving new hope to many stars in the music genre.

Several Korean-Americans were among the performers at the seventh annual KCON, an event for all things tied to “Hallyu,” or the “Korean Wave” of popular culture.

Many Americans were given their first taste of K-pop via the viral success of rapper Psy’s music video Gangnam Style in 2012.

This year, another Korean act’s growing fan base in the United States has K-pop stars, including some who grew up in America, thinking they too could win fame in the United States.

In June, the boy band BTS became the first K-pop group to top the Billboard 200 album chart, with Love Yourself: Tear.

 “We K-pop artists are really proud of them, because we know how hard it is to make it in the industry,” Ailee, a US-born K-pop star whose given name is Yejin Lee, said in a phone interview.

“The fact that they opened up those doors and cleared the way for us, it’s a huge hope for us,” said Ailee, who was performing at KCON this weekend.

Ailee, whose hit singles include U & I and Heaven, went to high school in New Jersey and grew up listening to Beyonce and Mariah Carey, all while consuming a steady diet of movies and television shows from South Korea.

Ailee, 29, said that years ago, when she was trying to find a career in the US entertainment industry, she was told fans would not want to emulate someone like her.

“They told me it’s difficult for people who are Caucasian or black or Latino to feel that way towards an Asian person,” said Ailee, who declined to say which US entertainment companies turned her down.

Ailee moved to South Korea nearly a decade ago, and was signed by an entertainment company there.

Several other Korean-American performers have also turned to K-pop as their path to music careers. They include several past winners of televised singing competitions in South Korea, as well as members of the groups Girls Generation and Seventeen.

K-pop acts sing or rap in Korean, often with snippets of English. On the Web, where K-pop fandom thrives, many music videos include subtitles.

But language was no barrier at KCON, even though most attendees were not of Korean descent.

Attendance at this year’s event in Los Angeles, which has one of the largest Korean diaspora communities, was expected to exceed the 85,000 who attended last year, organisers said.

This year, people of all ethnicities danced in unison to K-pop songs at a “dance workshop,” posed for photos with giant emoticons and tried on traditional Korean robes.

SEOUL, May 28, 2018 (News Wires) -  — Korean boyband phenomenon BTS have become the first K-Pop group to rise to the top of the US album charts, a vivid illustration of the genre’s growing global appeal.

Known for boyish good looks, floppy haircuts and meticulously choreographed dance moves, the septet has become one of South Korea’s best known and most lucrative musical exports.

SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - A group of South Korea’s K-pop singers will visit Pyongyang from March 31, the South said on Tuesday, a reciprocal visit after North Korea sent performers to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The South Koreans, numbering roughly 160, will visit North Korea until April 3, the South’s Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

K-pop girl group Red Velvet and music industry veterans Cho Yong-pil and Lee Sun-hee will be among the group, the ministry said, after the neighbours’ delegations held talks on the performances at the truce border village of Panmunjom.

The visitors will hold two shows in Pyongyang, one at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre and the other at the Ryukyung Chung Ju Yung Gymnasium.

The East Pyongyang Grand Theatre was the backdrop to a landmark performance by the New York Philharmonic in 2008, while the latter spot was a joint project between the North and South, named after Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung.

Officials will visit the North from March 22 to 24 to inspect the sites and ensure they can accommodate the singers, the ministry added.

The deal is the latest step in the detente that began after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said at the beginning of the year that he intended to improve ties.

North Korea has since agreed to hold summits with the South and the US, apart from participating last month in the Olympics in South Korea.