BLACKPINK: Light Up The Sky began at the group’s debut press conference in 2016 – the girls all have fresh faces and wide eyes. It then fell back to three years later, a scream of applause erupting as they made their way through a crowded mall. These are BLACKPINK, probably one of the most successful K-pop artists in history.
Ever since they achieved mega-fame during their four years in the industry, I’ve always been curious about them – with their varied backgrounds, nearly perfect characters on stage and audiences, and their singles, to success. But, we have to admit, we never enjoyed getting to know them on a deeper level, perhaps because I thought they were living lives far from mine. Light Up The Sky broke all of my preconceptions and made them human. They’re not just BLACKPINK, the most successful female K-pop group of all time. Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa, young women – who dream big, work hard, and have fun along the journey.
The documentary painted an honest portrayal of their fame and the struggles that stem from the superstar. But we also got to know the girls, individually, who did activities that celebrate their different personalities: Jennie in her Pilates class, Lisa shopping vintage finds, Jisoo doing makeup, and Rosé playing her guitar. However, as couples, Lisa and Rosé soon discovered that they were soul mates. on the other hand, have a more family dynamic and work for hand in hand as the older sisters of the group.
These four girls grew up in four different countries and, as fate would have it, reunited as interns at YG Entertainment. Although their group was initially supposed to be nine girls, all four found natural chemistry that worked. No one overshadowed the other or supported their way to a better position. They worked together and became one.
“When you’re working in a group, everyone has their place and a role. And when everyone settles into their roles, that’s how synergy is born. That realization changed my outlook. When everyone is where they need to be, big things can happen.” —Jisoo
One figure crucial to BLACKPINK’s success and unknown to most is their honorary “fifth member,” producer YG Teddy Park. He is the head and responsible for writing and producing the massive hits of BLACKPINK songs and has worked closely with they’re system since they were trainees. What surprised me about the documentary was the way the girls were involved in creating their work. They’ve had a say in everything they’ve released, and they have a library of songs they’ve worked on over the years but have not yet released.
One refreshing quality I found in Light Up The Sky was all the girls’ honesty in their story. Naturally being individuals and very famous K-pop idols, director Caroline Suh created a safe space for BLACKPINK to open up in and bring out their heartfelt emotions and thoughts about their relentless trainees, the price they pay for their fame, and what they think the future awaits them.
“In the middle of [the tour], I didn’t feel like I had a personal life. It felt like there was this big hole in my life. What I’m living for is tomorrow’s show. I love being on stage because that’s when I feel the most alive, yet when we come back to the hotel, I felt so empty. And that’s when I realized I’m homesick.” —Rosé
Light Up The Sky has chronicled the highlights of their careers, and a significant event for them was the 2019 Coachella performance. It was a historical performance as they were the first group of K-pop girls to take the festival stage, and it was something they thought they couldn’t achieve. Also, the girls weren’t expecting to attract thousands of people to watch their set, which made me feel like they were completely unaware of the magnetism they had about people at the time.
The documentary concluded with the girls sharing a hearty meal at an anonymous restaurant they frequented as trainees. There, they chatted animatedly about life in Paris or London and talked about what their life would be like when they were forty. Married with children or not, one thing was sure to them: they would still dance and sing with heart and soul as if it were just another comeback.
“All races and all kinds of people came together [in Coachella]. So it helped emphasize [that] this represents BLACKPINK.” —Lisa