Blackpink Honored with MBE by King Charles. Here's What This Award All About

Blackpink honored with MBE

Members of the Korean pop girl group sensation, Blackpink, Jisoo, Lisa, Jennie, and Rose, were invited to Buckingham Palace in London to attend the state reception hosted by His Majesty King Charles III.

The reception was held in honor of the official state visit of the South Korean President. Blackpink was invited as part of the South Korean delegation to promote South Korean culture. And also in their capacity as advocates of the United Nation's Sustainability Development (although not seem obvious? Blackpink rarely participated in the Sustainability Development drive of the UN).

State visit of South Korea to UK
During the state banquet from left: Queen Camilla, King Charles III, the South Korean President, and his wife. Photo credit: The Royal Family

In his state banquet speech, His Majesty emphasized the role of Blackpink, "It is especially inspiring to see Korea’s younger generation embrace the cause (about sustainability), I applaud Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa, and Rosé, better known collectively as BLACKPINK, for their role in bringing the message of environmental sustainability to a global audience as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26, and later as advocates for the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals".

It is through this capacity that King Charles III awarded Jisoo, Lisa, Jennie, and Rose, with the Honorary MBE honors (Honorary because they are not British citizens). MBE means Member of the British Empire. By receiving such honor, they have the right to attach the MBE in their names. For example: Lalisa Manobal, MBE. 

Blackpink received MBE
Blackpink members walk on the red carpet in Buckingham Palace

So what this award is all about? Here's everything you need to know about the MBE honor and how one can get this award.

What is an MBE? It stands for Member of the British Empire. It is the lowest rank among the five classes in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a British Order of Chivalry established by Charles's great-grandfather, King George V, in 1917.

It is granted to individuals who have achievement or service in and to the community which is outstanding in its field and has delivered sustained and real impact which stands out as an example to others.

Blackpink received MBE
Lisa, Rose, Jisoo, and Jennie show their MBE medals

However, in the case of Blackpink, the award was given to them in their capacity as Ambassadors for the U.K.’s Presidency of COP 26. 

COP26 means "Conference of the Parties". It was a Climate Change conference held in 2021 organized by the United Nations and participated by 26 countries, discussing the effect of global warming and how to mitigate climate change.

Blackpink received MBE
The MBE medals given to Blackpink members

Blackpink received MBE
MBE medal with ribbon

The five classes of the Order of the British Empire are the following:
  1. Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)
  2. Knight Commander of Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE or DBE)
  3. Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  4. Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OME)
  5. Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Blackpink received MBE
Blackpink members enter the drawing room in Buckingham Palace

Blackpink received MBE
Rose, Jisoo, Jennie, and Lisa enter the drawing room to receive their awards

Who can get the MBE? Anyone can be nominated to receive an MBE, including non-British citizens, so long as they meet the necessary King’s Honor criteria. 

An MBE award can be given for all types of different achievements, but it is often given in recognition of community achievements or for a local "hands-on" service that has set an example to others.

Blackpink gets MBE from King Charles
Lisa showing her MBE medal

But it can be stripped! 

Anyone who misbehaves or develops a bad reputation that taints the reputation of the Order may have their award taken away. For example, British boxer, Naseem Hamed, was stripped of his MBE honor in 2006 following his conviction of dangerous driving.

Blackpink received MBE
King Charles III handed out the MBE medals to Blackpink

How one can get the nomination? To be nominated for an MBE, the nominee must have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their work or community and benefited others through their achievements, wherever they are.

Non-UK citizens can be considered for an honor for their work within the United Kingdom. UK citizens can be considered for achievements that either benefit UK citizens at home or abroad or if they bring distinction to the UK through their work.

Blackpink received MBE
Lisa received her MBE medal from His Majesty

Nominees living abroad can be nominated through the Foreign Secretary's Overseas List. A nomination can be made for professional achievements, business triumphs, personal expertise, charitable or volunteer commitments - in short, anything that demonstrates a positive impact and influence on peers, the community, or society as a whole, can get an MBE.

Blackpink received MBE
King Charles III handed out MBE medals to Blackpink

However, following the granting of the award, many have criticized the decision to give Blackpink this honor since they did not embody the principles of the COP26 or the UN's Sustainability Goal which is all about Climate Change Awareness, promoting a sustainable environment, and advocating for a green lifestyle.

Blackpink received MBE
Lisa of Blackpink wears an aquamarine sequin dress to the state banquet. Photo credit: Lisa IG

Blackpink has not been seen actively participating in these drives and campaigns and did not integrate into their lifestyle the principles of COP26. 

Unlike most environmental activists, Blackpink did not emulate the sustainability principles and did not put into real-life practice the advocacy tenets of climate change. 

They were merely used to draw the attention of the youth due to their popularity. But in practice, they have not contributed much to the activities of the COP26.

However, the award is given at the pleasure of the King and is part of fostering the cultural relationship between the United Kingdom and South Korea.

Blackpink received MBE
Photo credit: Lalalisa Instagram

Blackpink has been all over the news lately due to its controversial contract renewal dispute with its management, YG Entertainment, the company that helped the group catapult to global fame. Both camps have not reached a final agreement. 

Lisa also hugged headlines lately for her Crazy Horse show in Paris, which many suspected was the reason why her Weibo account was suspended. 

Crazy Horse Show is a cabaret-type show in Paris that received backlash in China when some Chinese celebrities, including Angelababy, were suspected to have watched the show. Appearing in a striptease show is considered "misbehavior" in China, which is perhaps the reason why Lisa's Weibo account was suspended.

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