Somewhere between 2009 and 2015, the number of K-Pop fans around the world were relatively fewer than the ones we see today. The chart-topping and most followed third generation bands such as BTS, EXO, TWICE, BLACKPINK, and more have yet to exist and the love for Korean music is more of a niche interest than a worldwide phenomenon.
In these years, the majority of the people you talk to on a daily basis may not have heard of the jargons 'bias,' 'idols,' 'fanchants,' and whatnot but play 2NE1's Fire or I Don't Care and everyone suddenly turns into the biggest K-Pop fan.
2NE1's Park Bom, Dara, Minzy, and CL have become modern classic figures, ones who can manufacture world hit songs overnight and whenever they please.
In case you missed it: CL: 5 Things to Know About the Original K-pop Queen
The influence of 2NE1 can never be measured by their awards and the number of their fans alone; the group was a pop sensation, something that allowed future generations of girl bands to move away from the traditional girl-next-door appeal.
When the girl group disbanded in 2016, their ever-devoted Blackjacks (as 2NE1’s fans are lovingly called) were disheartened—various petitions were posted online and the hashtag #ThankYou2NE1 trended on Twitter for days.
This is why when they returned on stage for Coachella 2022, the internet had nothing else to talk about.