California Idol Group Sorb3t Called Out for Problematic Viral Vid
The group, who go by the names Alice, Berry, and Ashe, are what are known as overseas idols, or kaigai idols in J-pop culture. They introduced themselves in a call-and-response style video on TikTok on Wednesday (May 24).
“So sweet! Hello, we are Sorb3t! We are an idol group based in California, and today we wanted to teach you guys our call and responses,” the pink member, Berry, announced.
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What drew the most backlash came as Berry herself launched into her personal call-and-response.
“Hello everyone. My name is Berry, and I’m the leader and pink member of Sorb3t,” she said. “I start off by saying, ‘Strawberry!’ and then you repeat back, ‘Blueberry!’ and when I ask, ‘Who’s everyone’s sweet idol?’ you’re gonna say, ‘Berry-chan!'”
“Right, but did the second one have to say strawberry like that..and their group music is gonna be in English, so like…” one viewer commented, referring to the fact that Berry pronounced “strawberry” and “blueberry” with an apparent Japanese accent.
Another person commented, “Is j pop or k pop in the room with us rn?”
“And I thought I was delulu,” someone else joked, using the popular abbreviation among fans for the word delusional.
“I shed a tear watching this,” another person said, while one person agreed, “Strawberry accent is sending me.”
The group has since deleted the viral video, and Berry released an apology video on the group’s TikTok account that now has over one million views.
“I genuinely and wholeheartedly apologize to every single person that I have upset or that I have offended with my call and response,” she said.
She continued, “I, as a white person, have an insane amount of privilege, and I will never truly understand the struggles that people of color go through.”
Berry then went on to explain why she chose to say her call and response in Japanese, despite the group aiming to release music in English.
“When I eventually have my own tracks, I plan to release solo music almost exclusively in Japanese,” she revealed. She also added that her boyfriend is Japanese and “unintentionally” created her call-and-response signature after the two were discussing her “idol career.”
Berry claimed that she went with the call-and-response because she loves the “strawberry aesthetic,” and her online alias is “associated with blueberries.”
Fans still weren’t buying the apology in the comments section, like one who said, “PLS, THE BF CARD IS CRAZY.”
Another person exclaimed, “UR VOICE CHANGED LMAO.”
Watch Berry-chan’s apology video, below:
And despite the backlash, Berry revealed that she already has a new call-and-response lined up for the group’s upcoming performance on Saturday, May 27, which they announced in another TikTok video.
See more reactions to Sorb3t’s controversy, below: