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Jackson Wang Goes Shirtless, 2NE1 Reunite at Coachella 2022

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Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has returned to Coachella Valley, California, after two back-to-back cancellations in 2020 and 2021. The musical extravaganza held its opening weekend on April 15-17 and will have its second round from April 22-24. 

And while this year’s festival lined up no shortage of talent — including the 1990s personified (Fatboy Slim), Harry Styles, and Billie Eilish, it’s the robust roster of Asian performers that has us impressed.

From Mongolian metal band The Hu to Filipino-British performer Beabadoobee and Chinese-Indonesian rapper Rich Brian, the folks representing the Asian continent are a diverse and talented bunch. 

Chinese netizens watching the festival’s opening weekend from afar were particularly enthralled with the performances from recently reunited K-pop group 2NE1 and Chinese artist Jackson Wang. When Wang took to the Coachella Stage on April 16, he made history, becoming the first Chinese national to perform at the renowned music festival.

Both Wang and 2NE1 were presented as part of the record label 88risings ‘Head in the Clouds’ set. Like Wang, 88rising also secured its spot in the annals of music history during last weekend’s Coachella event, becoming the first record label to land a spot on the festival’s lineup.

On April 17, the hashtag for Coachella had been viewed some 600 million times on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. The hashtag was especially among K-pop fans who were thrilled by 2NE1’s unexpected comeback.

“2NE1 performed together at Coachella. Is this really 2022? I am crying,” wrote one exhilarated fan.

Another shared, “2NE1’s regroup gave me goosebumps. It made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.”

2ne1 coachella

2NE1 at Coachella. Image via Weibo

Many Chinese youths also expressed their pride in Wang’s history-making participation at Coachella.

“Jackson Wang is shining on such an international stage. When he said, ‘This is Jackson Wang from China,’ I felt really proud,” wrote one Weibo user.

Others especially enjoyed the moment Wang removed his shirt — an iconic scene that generated a trending hashtag: ‘Jackson Wang took off his clothes again’ (#王嘉尔又脱了#) had more than 120 million views at the time of writing.

Some viewers weren’t distracted by Wang’s chiseled abs, though: Speculation about whether or not Wang had been lip-synching has circulated on Weibo since his performance.

Many have tried to brush away the rumors, arguing that there are more important matters to focus on, such as the cultural significance of a Chinese artist performing at Coachella.

“Although I am not his fan, he is out there bringing honor to the Chinese entertainment industry. Spreading rumors is completely unnecessary,” wrote a netizen.

Arguably one of the most famous music festivals globally, Coachella is being streamed in China on WeChat. The music festival officially wrapped up its first three-day weekend performance on April 17; this coming weekend marks its second and final run for 2022.

Cover image via Weibo

Kayla He
    Born and raised in China, Kayla received her BA in Communications and Public Service from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently works as a staff writer at RADII and is passionate about telling stories related to social issues women's empowerment. You can find her exploring coffee shops in Shanghai in her free time or rushing for Duffy and Friends plush toys at Shanghai Disneyland.
    china.wav LA

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