G-Dragon Accused of Putting on Blackface in Tribute to Trayvon Martin

Big Bang‘s G-Dragon is making the news in Western news sources, but not because of his concerts or his music. The popular K-Pop rapper has caused controversy with an Instagram photo that may not have been very well thought out.

The picture in question was shared through his official Instagram account on July 30. In it, he wears a gray T-shirt over his head and has his face painted black. Along with the picture comes the simple caption, “X.”


G-Dragon has been known to post unusual photos before, but this one came in bad timing. Online news sources pointed out that the picture looks similar to the trend of American artists paying tribute to slain American youth Trayvon Martin by wearing a hoodie. With the black paint on G-Dragon’s face, the picture comes off as a distasteful homage to Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin was a Florida teenager who was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a member of the neighborhood watch. Zimmerman claimed that he shot the teenager out of self-defense and was acquitted of all charges in a highly controversial trial last month. 

After the controversy was picked up by major news sources such as SPIN MagazineLA Times, and the Guardian, a representative for G-Dragon emailed SPIN and explained that it was “a HUGE misunderstanding… The face paint is only a color variation for his album cover which includes black, white, and red. It is in no way meant to be a political or racial statement… It’s being derived by a simple photo shoot where GD was using different face paint colors for his upcoming album.”

The picture is still up on G-Dragon’s Instagram and has 104,000 likes and many messages of support for the rapper from his fans.