2021 has proven to be a grand year for the one-year-old girl group, aespa. Consisting of WINTER, KARINA, GISELLE, and NINGNING, aespa have received global recognition since their debut with “Black Mamba” last November. From dominating international and Korean charts to becoming the face of seven brands, aespa are leading the next wave of K-pop. Their debut mini-album, Savage, sold over half of a million copies, landing a top 20 spot on Billboard 200 and 2 on the top selling albums chart. Their lead track “Savage,” experimental and full of the distinct aespa flair, fared just as well, achieving over 100 million YouTube streams in 17 days. Today marks a new milestone: aespa is officially the first female K-pop act to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The four members joined Olay’s “Her Future Is STEM-Sational” float to perform their latest hit. Not only is this aespa’s second live performance since their debut last year, but this is the quartet’s first live performance in the United States.
This float celebrates & inspires women who shoot for the stars when they pursue a career in STEM! Dance along with K-Pop sensation🥬 @aespa_official 🥕 and @olayskin — there's some girl power on the #MacysParade route! pic.twitter.com/xiYT3rA2rE
— Macy's (@Macys) November 25, 2021
A “STEM-Sational” Performance
One might wonder why aespa, a group of four K-pop idols, was selected to represent women in STEM. The answer lies in aespa’s complex concept, marrying innovative technology with K-pop storytelling. Leaders in both the metaverse and K-pop scene, aespa is the perfect artist to fit the bill.
aespa joined the float in their black, combat-ready outfits from their “Savage” teasers topped with matching fur coats to keep them warm throughout the parade. The girls took them off only during their stage.
Their performance was brief and the girls had little space to truly dance, but the members were able to show off their years of training through their effortless movements and clean angles. They danced to “Savage” from the start of the song until the end of the first chorus on the float while it slowly moved.
Hey @aespa_official fans… Did you catch your favs performing at the #MacysParade?! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yU7fPJTlxt
— NBC Entertainment (@nbc) November 25, 2021
Throughout the parade, MYs, fans of aespa, encountered the girls and posted about the experience on social media.
Giselle was reading my poster pic.twitter.com/AUwTpsIg3n
— ae Liliana 💕💕 (@shhhhhoe) November 25, 2021
is toooooo cold…I couldn’t hold my camera stable…but Giselle still looks so cute!!!#GISELLE #지젤 #aespa #에스파 #AESPAxMacysParade2021 @aespa_official pic.twitter.com/VmjJhTngmN
— 💫 (@PetalGalaxy_) November 25, 2021
all of aespa is so cute 😭😭 IGNORE MY VOICE IM SO OBNOXIOUS LMAO pic.twitter.com/frS3DEg8ej
— 💙 (@winbaos) November 25, 2021
aespa have yet to unveil their official lightstick, but that proved not to be an issue. Some fans sported cabbages to show their MY identity. This item comes from KARINA herself, who told MYs to bring cabbages and carrots to their first ever live stage last week.
look at that banner and cabbage ohmygod i love aespa and this fandom so much 😭pic.twitter.com/qF9SXIPpTh
— ً (@taeoxobae) November 25, 2021
— („• ֊ •„) (@kmjwt1) November 25, 2021
aespa saw the cabbage 😭 pic.twitter.com/iQY5O4QFGM
— sky (@ujiminphoria) November 25, 2021
karina waving, laughing while pointing at something before making a heart over her head she must've saw mys or probably mys with carrots and cabbages 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/71DOlKGk87
— 똥뿌 🥬🥕 (@havefunkarina) November 25, 2021
THE DONT YOU KNOW IM A CABBAGE WITH WINTER’S BOB HAIR AT THE BACK SKCHKSJFKS pic.twitter.com/CUxNJ0jgJj
— ً (@wntrsgf) November 25, 2021
The cabbages not only caught aespa’s attention, but also Macy’s social media team! They added carrot and cabbage emojis to their caption on their official Twitter page.
Building Hype for K-pop’s “Next Level” Girl Group
aespa’s performance has been heavily anticipated by MYs since the initial announcement of their participation in the parade. On November 21, aespa’s first airport photos as a group flooded social media upon the group’s arrival. It even made it to the Korean news!
Press photos of aespa arriving at Incheon International Airport today!
aespa will be flying to New York City for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This will be their first overseas schedule#aespa #에스파 @aespa_official pic.twitter.com/PYefDOXqch
— aespresso (semi-ia) (@aespresso_SM) November 21, 2021
aespa at incheon airport heading to new york for the macy's thanksgiving day parade! pic.twitter.com/rKRKKTa2ND
— ً (@aespabbl) November 21, 2021
Then, on Monday night, the girls were spotted during rehearsals. The official Macy’s Instagram page posted a clip of their “Savage” dance onto their stories, which subsequently made its rounds across Twitter.
211123 Macys instagram story update #aespa
“It’s the one and only @aespa_official !!⚡”https://t.co/d9i1kekT1p#aespa #에스파 @aespa_official pic.twitter.com/aPGpD6XaRt
— AESPA INTERNATIONAL (@AESPAIntl) November 23, 2021
Macy’s later posted group photos of aespa after their rehearsals.
.@aespa_official was hard at work last night getting ready for their big #MacysParade performance on Thursday! Ready to tune in? https://t.co/YzOCVvso70 pic.twitter.com/i8sGaNFxLr
— Macy's (@Macys) November 23, 2021
Even though aespa have been here for a short amount of time, their presence has been felt. Fans have been posting about their sightings with the “Next Level” singers throughout the week.
View this post on Instagram
ชีวิตกุน่ะ ใครจะไปคิดว่าจะเจอเอสป้าก่อนบังทัน555555555555555 pic.twitter.com/CDRXdbmNLW
— ᏢᎡᎷᎡᏫᏚᎬ☁️ (@litatir) November 23, 2021
Fans who attended the Chip City fan event in New York City were even able to have a quick greeting with the girls on Wednesday. aespa stopped by their first United States fan event, sure to obtain some of the limited edition treats.
VIDEO | 211125 – aespa at the Chip City x aespa event venue!#aespa #에스파 @aespa_official @envimediaco pic.twitter.com/7xZIz6IIaz
— AESPA 🌏 UNIVERSE (@AESPA_UNIVERSE) November 24, 2021
What’s To Come?
The first of many performances, aespa’s American debut with their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade stage is nothing short of “Next Level.” MYs will certainly see more of aespa in the future once they release their next album.
Want more on aespa? Read up our piece on their Chip City fan event here.