This Super Popular Chinese 'Boy Band' Doesn't Have Any Boys in It at All
Beloved in China, they are changing up gender stereotypes.
Chinese “boy band” Acrush divulged a big secret at a “Husband Exhibition,” part of a series held in February of music events held by tech giant Tencent, which featured all of the artists girls fantasize about.
But this year, the event featured a major twist.
The super popular band Acrush revealed they are not boys. Lu Keran, An Junxi, Peng Xichen, Min Junqian and Lin Fan are five non-gender conforming individuals, all of whom were born female.
Acrush’s manager introduces band members not by he or she, but as "meishaonian,” meaning handsome youth.
This news officially makes Acrush China’s most popular androgynous band. They have amassed 900,000 followers on Weibo, the equivalent of Twitter in China. Katy Perry, in comparison, has 1 million.
The band was put together about a year ago by Zhou Xiaobai, Acrush’s 28-year-old manager. Zhou had been looking to put together a unisex pop group after pop star Li Yuchun bravely paved the way a decade ago. Li won China’s “Super Girl” contest in 2005. Although the televised music competition is for females-only, Li brought a new look to the competition with her masculine attire and boyish style.
Li’s emergence may have encouraged more acceptability of non-conforming gender identities in China’s pop culture, yet many are still afraid to openly take the stage.
Zhou had been playing with the idea of putting together a band since Li became a national, and global, sensation years ago. Finally, last year Zhou narrowed down 10 initial candidates to Acrush’s five members.
Acrush’s members are fierce, but breaking the boundaries of conventional gender identities still has its hardships.
The band is still not allowed to discuss their sexual preferences. And, like most, if not all, mega-star pop groups in Asia, the group goes through rigorous training. For example, each member had to learn soccer to participate in the federation that sponsors the band. And their manager ensures each social media message they receive gets a response.
“I ask them to reply every WeChat and Weibo message,” Acrush manger Zhou Xiaobai told Quartz. “They need to show gratitude [to fans].”
Overall, Acrush has received 85% positive messages on social media, Quartz reports.
The band plans to release a music video at the end of April. Until then, we can all applaud Acrush for defying gender stereotypes.