LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Korean pop music, or K-pop, is a global phenomenon with millions of dedicated fans worldwide. USC recently held the first ever K-Pop Festa, an event celebrating and showcasing this increasingly popular genre.
"I think that's the million dollar question. I think everybody wants to know, what's bringing so many different people in from so many different areas?" said Hye Jin Lee, clinical assistant professor at USC Annenberg School of Communication. "It is not just about music. There are stories behind it."
Professor Lee developed and teaches a K-pop course at USC, and helped launch its first K-Pop Festa.
"It's one thing to talk about K-pop and its popularity with fans, but it's another to really see K-pop being accepted at a college campus," Lee observed.
The event featured concerts and panel discussions with Ph.D. candidates and industry leaders. Becky Pham studies how young people, children and families interact with pop culture. She's been a fan of K-pop since growing up in Vietnam in the late 90s.
"I just hope by having these inclusive and diverse forums, we are able to have a diverse conversation about K-pop," Pham said.
Fans say another component is the connections they make with the artists and each other.
Following a K-pop cover band contest, there were performances by Korean actress and singer Kim Sejeong and K-pop group Kingdom.
The K-Pop Festa was hosted alongside the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles (KCCLA) and several Korean cultural groups and agencies.
Professor Lee says it's very meaningful to see Asian American students on campus excited. Lee sees this Festa as a preview of years to come.
"I think it's very meaningful and exciting," said Lee. "It's a new chapter for sure."