In recent years, a handful of Asian American musicians have made a name for themselves in the American music scene. There's indie rock artist Mitski, Michelle Zauner of the genre-defying band Japanese Breakfast, and house DJ and producer Yaeji. The list grows a bit longer if we count Grammy-winning mainstream artists like H.E.R., Olivia Rodrigo, Bruno Mars, and Anderson .Paak, all of whom have some Asian heritage. However, they're the notable exceptions in an industry in which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Aapi) are still grossly underrepresented and underpromoted, despite the wealth of musical talent that exists within the community.
In contrast, many K-pop stars - the majority of whom hail from South Korea - are now more successful and famous in the US than most Aapi artists. This striking paradox speaks to