In the world of K-pop, where image and aesthetics play a pivotal role, the freedom for artists to choose their own style is often seen as a mark of their growing influence and maturity in the industry. However, recent revelations about ITZY's Yeji not having the autonomy to select her own hair color have sparked a wave of criticism towards JYP Entertainment, the group's managing agency.

Yeji, known for her versatile looks that complement ITZY's dynamic performances, had previously expressed a desire to try a blue-black hair color for the group's next comeback. This was revealed during a conversation back in March 2023, where she hinted at her preference. Yet, when ITZY made their return with "None Of My Business," Yeji was seen sporting a light brown shade, a departure from her expressed wish.

The surprises didn't stop there. Shortly after, Yeji made another appearance, this time with vibrant orange locks for the promotion of "Cake." While the color undeniably suited her, fans couldn't help but recall Yeji's earlier mention of wanting to dye her hair pink. This sentiment was further echoed by Yeji herself during a live stream, where she shared her initial hopes for a pink hue and her surprise at the quick switch back to orange.


Fans took to social media to voice their concerns and frustrations. Many pointed out that ITZY, nearing their fifth anniversary in the industry, should be granted more say in their styling choices. Tweets highlighting the group's lack of autonomy, especially when compared to other groups who have significant input in their concepts and productions, flooded the platform.

The criticism wasn't solely about Yeji's hair color. Fans also referenced other questionable styling decisions by JYP Entertainment's Division 2, particularly Yeji's look during the Louis Vuitton pre-fall show. Critics felt that the agency missed an opportunity to let Yeji shine, citing lackluster makeup, unchanged hair color, and a noticeable absence of accessories.

In the broader context of K-pop, while it's common for agencies to have a tight grip on their artists' images, especially during the early stages of their careers, this control typically loosens as the artists gain experience and establish their brand. Fans believe that ITZY, with their years of experience and proven track record, should be no exception.

As the debate continues, it underscores the evolving dynamics between K-pop idols, their managing agencies, and the fans. With the global reach and influence of K-pop today, the industry's practices are under more scrutiny than ever, pushing for a balance between agency control and artist autonomy.