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2NE1 Coachella reunion brings fans together for first show in 7 years

Now-disbanded group gave its first performance since MAMA in 2015

2NE1 performs “I Am the Best” at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)
2NE1 performs “I Am the Best” at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)

After years of rumors that the band is preparing a new project or might even reunite, the now-disbanded 2NE1 sent fans abuzz with a special appearance at Coachella.

On Saturday, the group took over the main stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held in Indio, California. This marks the hit-making K-pop superstar’s return for the first time in seven years since it last performed at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong.

Some of other big names that lit up the 80-minute show were Jackson Wang of boy band GOT7, Japanese American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada and Thai rapper Milli.

Speculation over the four-piece act coming together for a performance began making the rounds on social media when the official Weibo account of the management company and music agency 88rising tagged the band and its former leader CL in a post on Friday as part of its roster for its Head in the Clouds performance.

Rapper CL kicked off her mini solo stage and was later joined by the three other bandmates -- Sandara Park, Park Bom and Minzy -- in an electrifying performance.

2NE1, donned in their typical black outfits just like they did a decade ago, turned it up a notch with the megahit “I Am the Best” that was released in 2011. At first, a black fog filled the stage and seconds later, their silhouettes, setting off the boisterous crowd.

Sandara Park appeared with her iconic hairstyle, and Park Bom, clad in her signature look: a black mini dress and red highlights. Minzy sparkled in a silver halter top, and former leader CL paired her lace suit with a black leather jacket.

After the performance, CL opened up about the group’s reunion on social media.

“I wanted to invite my bandmates to this stage after I got invited to Coachella because we wanted to reunite by ourselves before it gets too late. I want to thank everyone who has loved and spent time with us for 12 years. On that, today was a very important day for me,” the Instagram post read. 


2NE1 performs “I Am the Best” at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)
2NE1 performs “I Am the Best” at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)

Not only were fans at Coachella stunned by the K-pop icon’s reunion, but the wave of excitement spread around the globe. Fans took to social media, gushing about the event: “2NE1’s iconic Bam Ratata with Dara’s iconic hair 10 years later. Legends.”

Hashtags like “2NE1,” “2NE1 at Coachella,” “2NE1chella” and “2NEChella” were also trending on social media as well as of Monday.

Some fans took the opportunity to take a swipe at YG Entertainment, the band’s former agency, for disbanding the group.

“The company must be choking right now for disbanding them, knowing that even after six years have passed, 2NE1 will always make an impact. Indeed a legendary behavior. They woke up the crowd and saved Coachella,” one fan wrote on social media.

Some were hopeful that 2022 would be a year of rebirth and comebacks for second-generation K-pop bands, picking Girls’ Generation as the next likely candidate.

2NE1 made its grand debut with the single “Fire” in May 2009 and was the first girl group under K-pop powerhouse YG Entertainment. The quartet became a K-pop icon with its hip-hop-based frenzied beats and charismatic stage presence.

The group officially bid farewell to fans in November 2016 as Minzy announced her departure. 2NE1 dropped its final single “Goodbye” as a trio in January 2017 as a goodbye present to Blackjack, its official fandom.

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)
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