The J-Hope in the Box documentary gave us an up close look into his personal life and as a solo artist who made history with his iconic performance at Lollapalooza!

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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J-Hope in the Box

From recording songs to making creative decisions at the very last minute before he got on stage, the J-Hope in the Box documentary captures the whole journey of J-Hope's solo album!

The interaction that BTS members have with their fans is like no other. They’ve built a solid relationship with us over the years. But as fans, we’re still curious to know everything that happens behind the scenes, in their lives, before they get on stage and become idols every time. J-Hope in the Box offers us just that and more!

The documentary is edited in a non-linear format that has helped bring out the contrast between Jung Hoseok- a human being, son and friend and J-Hope, the magnetic star and the main headliner of Lollapalooza. It starts with J-Hope sitting with a team of the Hybe staff and discussing his setlist for the prestigious music festival. When I saw so many people sitting around him, I felt there are so many people behind the stage who work so hard which is why as a final result we see everything come together so well on stage.

And while we’re talking about people behind the scenes, I really wasn’t expecting his family to be included in this documentary, only because BTS has always been very private about it. While their faces were never shown, hearing their interactions with J-Hope, seeing their house in his hometown Gwangju, where they have a cabinet full of his merch and achievements shows how truly proud they are to see their son do wonders in the music industry.

Another thing that we all got to see through this documentary was the listening party he had a day before his album was released. Listening parties are a common concept in the west but he was the first one to host something like this. It was a day when J-Hope gathered everyone from the K-Pop industry under one roof to listen to his album and celebrate music. It goes without saying that the other BTS members were first in line to support him given that this was J-Hope’s first event as a host. I remember the day it had actually happened because the videos were all over Instagram and I had so much FOMO! But trust me, seeing the actual high quality footage of it is just gonna make you feel the FOMO even more. 

Coming to the days before the performance, It was new for me to see how well and organized Hybe is when it comes to coordinating with their background dancers who were rehearsing back in America. I don’t know why I was surprised to see that they sent J-Hope a video of the new choreography that they had made for Dynamite, and J-Hope practiced that all by himself in Korea. And of course it is always so inspiring to see him work hard. In a scene where he was initially recording the songs for his album, he literally lived in his studio for two days and did not come out till he was satisfied with what he had recorded. The conversation where he told his mom he’s not gonna be able to meet his Dad even though he is Seoul shows that kind of sacrifice BTS makes even 10 years later after achieving it all!

When he reached Chicago, I saw a more real side of him and I say this because celebrities refrain from showing emotions like disagreement or when they are strict about something. I’ve always heard other BTS members say J-Hope can be pretty intimidating when it comes to practice sessions and there really is no room for messing up. When he started practicing there a few days before his performance, I could see the perfectionist that everyone says he is. He was not ready to compromise on anything and rightfully so because he knew he was giving his 200%. He knew he was making history as the first Asian to headline a popular American music festival. Something BTS wouldn’t have even thought of a few years back. 

But you could see a complete shift in his energy once Jimin got there to support him. These are the moments where I feel there’s no way BTS could ever get tired of each other or even think of disbanding. They are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. I could actually see how Jimin’s presence, his support, his comforting words towards his elder brother was actually giving him courage and belief that he can do this!

While it was a good choice to not show the whole performance and just the ones that really stood out, choreography wise, still reliving the performance made me feel J-Hope’s energy once again. But what was more interesting was to see the things that he does right before he goes on stage. Like for instance, how he took a sip of beer literally seconds before going on stage and how he was so calm even while he was in that box ready to jump out. This documentary was more about that than the performance itself. 

In the end, the way you see him reflecting on the whole journey after it's done, how he said his entire body ached the next day or how he still felt he could’ve done better in some parts shows the dedication he has towards his craft. The documentary ends with a post credit scene where he reveals his next solo project ‘Hope on the street’. Jack in the box was more about J-Hope but Hope on the street is going to be more about his roots and what he loved doing before he even became a K-pop Idol, which is dancing or rather street dance in particular and I cannot wait to see what that has in store for us!

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