Today, the latest single from the first openly gay K-Pop star, Holland came out. The video for “I’m Not Afraid” shows Holland throwing a party for with his friends (including, as the best parties do, a drag queen). There’s a little bit of making out, but overall the restricted Holland video is pretty innocuous — so why did YouTube put an age restriction on it?
Late last night, Holland tweeted “On YouTube my new Song ‘I’m Not Afraid’ received an R-rating. We’re trying to figure out what cause of the song receiving the ban is. We’ll figure it out quickly and find a solution. I’m really sorry.” Fans were quick to point out that it was likely homophobia, over the scene where Holland deeply kisses his boyfriend.
Holland’s debut single came out in January of this year. He’s K-Pop‘s first openly gay idol singer. He’s been compared to openly gay South African-born Australian singer, songwriter Troye Sivan, and his latest song is an anthemic banger with a slightly retro sound.
YouTube has had a queerphobia problem lately. The streaming platform has come under fire for running anti-LGBTQ ads before LGBT content, demonetizing content from trans creators and blocking all LGBT content in Restricted mode. On the last day of Pride month, YouTube said they were going to “do better.”
Though people who have Restricted Mode turned off can see the video, when Restricted Mode is on, you only see a blank page.
Aside from a relatively chaste video, it’s particularly galling that “I’m Not Afraid” is restricted. The song is about coming out and not being afraid to live your life as you are.
The English-language chorus is “I’m not, not afraid anymore” repeated. Not only is it a good song, but “I’m Not Afraid” also has a good message for everyone — not just queer people.
YouTube, if you want to do better, this isn’t the way to do it.