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If you know anything about K-pop, then you know BLACKPINK. You know their songs, like their debut single “Whistle,” “Ddu-Ddu Ddu-Du,” which marked their big international breakthrough, their award-winning hit “How You Like That,” and “Ice Cream,” their collaboration with Selena Gomez. You’ve watched their record-busting music videos, marveled at their slick dance moves, and pored over their cool, stylish outfits.
But Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa are more than just pop stars. They’re people, too, and it’s time to get to know them in a whole new way. The new documentary BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky takes fans behind the scenes to give them an intimate look at what went down during BLACKPINK’s training, their day-to-day lives, their first world tour, and their history-making performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Light Up the Sky is a deeply personal and surprisingly intimate look at every aspect of the girls’ lives, and whether you’re a diehard Blink or a newcomer to the group, you’ll come away with a newfound appreciation for the stars who make up BLACKPINK.
Take, for example, a sequence that comes about an hour into Light Up the Sky, in which the members of BLACKPINK discuss the rigors that they endured while spending nine months on the road. Their bodies begin to succumb to the rigors of performing every night. Mentally, all that pressure starts to get to them. And yet, somehow, the girls pull through. As you’ll see, Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé aren’t just top-tier performers. They’re also charming, dedicated, and extremely strong young women. It’s almost impossible not to love them.
It's BLACKPINK's diversity
Because they work so well together, it’s easy to think of BLACKPINK as a single unit, but that really isn’t the case. If Light Up the Sky proves anything, it’s that the group is made up of four very distinct personalities from four very, very different backgrounds. While Rosé has been playing music for almost her entire life, Jisoo originally wanted to be a writer or a painter. Jennie describes herself as naturally shy, while Lisa spent her whole childhood on stage. Each member of BLACKPINK has her own strengths, and the reason the band works so well is that each one fills a unique role in the group.
Accordingly, during Light Up the Sky, every member of BLACKPINK discusses her own hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities, upbringings, and passions, establishing a unique identity that sets her apart from the crowd. In this sequence, we see how the different girls struggle during a long, grueling tour. Unsurprisingly, each one has a different reaction. Jisoo feels pressure to deliver a great show every night, which begins to wear on her. Jennie, who jokingly compares her body to a grandma’s, begins to suffer aches and pains. Rosé gets deeply homesick, and even as Lisa tries to keep everyone’s spirits up, she worries that she’s going too far.
How a person deals with adversity says a lot about them, and this sequence further reveals just who the members of BLACKPINK really are. That’s what Light Up the Sky does best. As the movie proves, when BLACKPINK comes together, magic happens, but it’s because of its members’ differences, not in spite of them.
It's how normal the members of BLACKPINK really are
There’s no doubt that the members of BLACKPINK are dynamic performers, talented musicians, and global superstars. However, once the lights go down and the cameras stop rolling, Light Up the Sky makes it clear that they’re also pretty normal 20-somethings. You’d think that breaking records, amassing legions of fans, and stealing the spotlight wherever they go would’ve gone to the girls’ heads, but no. When they’re off-stage, Rosé, Lisa, Jennie, and Jisoo come across as humble, grateful, and extremely relatable.
This segment of Light Up the Sky really drives that home. No, most of us haven’t been part of a continent hopping mega-tour, but the underlying obstacles that the BLACKPINK girls face still feel very, very familiar. If you’ve held a steady job, you’ve certainly felt pressure to perform to the best of your ability, and know that work can sometimes feel oppressively all-consuming. Getting sick or dealing with other physical impediments is an everyday struggle. Anyone who’s spent a long time traveling for work can confirm that homesickness is a real thing, and if you’ve ever tried to cheer up a friend who’s down, you know just how hard it can be.
The girls react to their problems in a very normal way, too. They scarf down junk food. They goof around on plane flights, trying to relieve some of the tension. They visit personal trainers, and take solace in simple things, like room service and poached eggs. Again, this isn’t that different from how everyone else deals with stress. The members of BLACKPINK may be famous, but when it comes right down to it, they really are just like the rest of us.
It's how hard BLACKPINK works to keep going
Here’s the thing, though: As difficult as being on tour is, the four girls fight through it. Yes, they’re hurting. Yes, their moods are up and down. Yes, as Light Up the Sky shows, BLACKPINK’s first international tour was hard. And yet, you know what doesn’t happen in this sequence? BLACKPINK’s members never complain. They never talk about giving up. They never give less than 100% effort when they’re performing, even when it would be easy to phone it in. Even when they’re at their lowest, the stage still feels like home.
This is a recurring theme in Light Up the Sky. Hard work and talent may have made BLACKPINK wildly wealthy world famous, but none of them take their success for granted. When they’re packing for the tour, Rosé observes, “You can never tell how long this will last.” In the film’s coda, they joke about throwing out their backs during their 20th-anniversary comeback tour. In Light Up the Sky, you get the sense that BLACKPINK knows how rare this type of fame is, and how quickly it can come and go.
And so they hustle. As trainees, they gave their all every month to wow YG Entertainment’s demanding executive team. Now, even though the group is already at the top of the pack, they spend long hours in the recording booth, making sure to get each note just right. Look at how that Coachella performance went down. BLACKPINK was performing in a brand new country, in front of thousands of people who’d never heard of them, at one of the biggest festivals in the world. They were already worn down from the rest of the tour. Jisoo was, by her own admission, sicker than she’d ever been. And yet BLACKPINK didn’t just kill it — they stole the whole damn show.
It's how BLACKPINK gets through it together
Of course, it’s a lot easier to get through hard times when you have good friends by your side. BLACKPINK are lucky that way. They’re not just bandmates. Light Up the Sky proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the girls of BLACKPINK are very, very good friends. It started way back in training — the first night they were all in the dorm together, they ended up in the same room, singing and playing music all night — and has continued up through the present day. In fact, some of Light Up the Sky‘s best moments come when the girls are just hanging out cooking, or trying on clothes, or watching videos of their old performances.
As this scene shows, that friendship is how BLACKPINK gets through the hard times. “We’re all human,” Jennie says, “so we have our moments, but when you have the good, positive energy going on, it helps.” The members of BLACKPINK have their own lives, their own personalities, and their own problems. And yet they know that they’re stronger together, and as seen Light Up the Sky, they support each other whenever it’s needed.
Ultimately, that bond is what makes Light Up the Sky so powerful. BLACKPINK gives their all for their music, their performances, and their fans, but at the end of the day, they’re most devoted to each other. There’s a reason the band tears up at the end of the tour’s final concert and embraces, letting each other know how proud each and every one of them is. Fame is fleeting, but bonds like that? Those last forever.
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