The truth behind the Sky Banner Project for Jaebeom: ORGANIZER TELLS ALL


A writer once said, “to have faith is to have wings.” In the recent events following the departure of Park Jaebeom from 2PM and consequently from Korea, this quote seems to have taken another level of meaning. Hottests all over the world have tried to express their sentiments by sending boxes of letters, signing petitions, joining silent protests, organizing flash mobs and in many other means. But on September 28th, at exactly 2PM, the Hottests have taken this dedication up to the sky. All the way from Australia, Briar Francis, 19, one of the main organizers of the Sky Banner Project, tells it all.


Disclaimer: Briar, along with Tiffie (who was tasked to “collect funds and help liaise with people in the US”), worked together to make it all happen. The one who answered the interview questions is Briar (whose answers will be in italics). This article does not, in any way, aim to implicate other groups or any affiliations related to 2PM or Jaebeom, but rather simply trace the developments of the project from the moment of its inception, leading to the issues that arose from its aftermath. I edited the piece by writing narrations, but basically the quotes were taken word for word.

***
Background of the Sky Banner Project


Fans from different countries gave an overwhelming support and contribution for the project: from the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, Thailand, Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Germany, Poland, Vietnam, Malaysia, Italy, Brazil, Lithuania, France, among many other countries, with age groups ranging from high school students, university, office workers and mothers. Throughout the whole process, Briar and Tiffie were aided by people from Twitter, soompi and the 2OD forum. They experienced the good, the bad, and the weirdest instances—from people e-mailing them stuff like “my sister knows a friend in high school who walks a dog for a person who used to know Jaebeom’s great uncle;” to Briar ending up “doing embarrassing things, like writing songs and posting videos on youtube.”

Briar

Who conceptualized the project?

“I came up with the idea first as sky writing, and contacted the 2OD forum to suggest it. But it was rejected, and I had a good think about it and agreed with the 2OD staff. At the time it was an unrealistic, disorganized group of thoughts. The sky writing wouldn’t last very long for the amount it would cost. I had a search on the internet and thought maybe a banner would be more interesting. By this time I’d gotten excited about it, so I made a Twitter page, emailed around for the best quote, and then left a post at soompi and the 2OD forum again. The quote was around $2000 at first, but it increased to $2500 after suggested changes to the plan were taken into consideration. People were starting to get interested, and that’s when Tiffie heard about the project and contacted me to help. Tiffie is my angel, she seemed more enthusiastic than I was at times, and practically went door-knocking around her neighborhood to collect donations.”



“I’d already donated 10% of the funds, and Tiffie had raised a whopping $1500 on her own. When we started getting donations so much bigger than a dollar, we laughed at each other for underestimating the generosity of Hottests around the world.”


“After going back and forth and back again between consulting our Twitter followers and each other, we decided on the necessities: the banner would fly for two hours starting at 2PM with the message ‘J. What Time Is It Now?’ written in black and maroon, the colors on 2PM’s second mini-album. The time was originally meant to be on the 26th, a Saturday, which would have enabled more Seattle followers to watch. But at that time we were contacted by the K-hottest group, UNDERGROUND, who offered us a deal if we moved to the 28th. We did this, but the deal was pulled due to differences in political stances. Basically, I couldn’t agree to signing the Skybanner Project’s name to the boycott, not because of my own beliefs, but because it didn’t represent the whole of the followers who’d put their trust in me. I’d already informed the flight company of the date, however, and so couldn’t change it even after the deal fell through.”



“We were uncertain where Jaebeom lived at the time, so to cover all regions that had been previously mentioned on the internet, we decided to fly from downtown Seattle to Mountlake Terrace, to Edmonds and then back.”



Did you contact anyone close to Jaebeom and tell them about the project, like his church, his friends or family? Did they give any response? If so, what?

“Funnily enough, I didn’t have to personally contact many people, really. A lot of the followers seemed to know friends of friends of friends of Jaebeom, haha~

I think we ended up letting Junior and Jaehan know about it through friends, although I’m not too sure whether the latter eventuated. There were many other potential ways of letting Jay’s friends know, but not many of them were successful. The two people I contacted were another one of those “might be in contact” people, and the pastor of Jay’s church. Tiffie and I seemed to have some encounters of the third kind with this project, hahaha. We were given lots of details we weren’t supposed to know by email (Jay’s hometown, JYP’s upcoming visit to Seattle). Before either of us was able to confirm the authenticity of the information or the identity of the source, they’d already deleted their email account and we had no way of knowing whether what we’d received was reliable. This is not information we disclosed to anyone else, and I still have mixed feelings about this issue. Tiffie and I are both flattered that we were trusted with this information among a few others, but at the same time we said ‘we can’t do anything with this information anyway…’ People already seemed to know [about the project]. We’ve been told that even Jaebeom’s mother knew… although I’m not too sure about that.”


***


What was your GOAL/INTENTION? Why did you choose the words “J. What time is it?” to write on the banner? (A lot of people misinterpreted this as “asking Jay to come back, because of the wording. Some commented, why not “J, we love and support you,” or simple messages of support?


“Ah, the important question.  I’d always stated right from get go that this was to support Jaebeom no matter what his decision was. If that was to stay in Seattle and start again there, no matter how heartbreaking it was, we would still respect that decision. It was to show our love, nothing more. I wanted it to be a neutral event that everyone could contribute to no matter what they believed – something that was positive, not placing any blame on anyone, but just making Jaebeom and the fans smile.”



“We wanted it to be something like ‘Jaebeom, fighting,’ but it quickly became obvious that this sort of message would only bring unnecessary attention and hurt his family. I came up with “What Time Is It Now?”, and later followers requested the “J.” at the beginning. We were strongly against the American media being involved: it was too close to Jaebeom. So we warned our followers that the American media was not to be contacted at any point in time.”


****

Funding/Donations



[Aside from support from groups/countries already mentioned] “There was one lady who donated a large sum of money, saying that while she wasn’t a young fan girl, she never wanted to see what happened to Jaebeom happen to anyone ever again, and if it was her son, she wouldn’t know what to do. That lady still keeps in contact with me to see how everything is going, and still offers to donate more money if I need it, despite the banner having already flown.”


D-day: The day the Sky Banner flew over Seattle


Briar and Tiffie were not in Seattle at the time of the event, so what they did was they sent a message to Jay via Twitter to look up to the sky during the time, updating fans and compiling videos, photos and screencaps Seattle Hottests have sent them, and sending a couple of photos from the flight company.They encountered difficulties and they weren’t able to pay the company in full. In the end, with their coordination they were able to pull the project through.


***

THE AFTERMATH


A lot of people in different blogs/ Kpop news portals had mixed reactions towards the Sky Banner Project for Jay. These are just general NEGATIVE reactions and not taken word for word. What are your reactions to this?


“The money could’ve been used for something else.”

I replied only once to one of these comments. I said that just because we wish to spend our money on this, doesn’t mean we haven’t been involved in other charity events, and it’s wrong to assume that without knowledge otherwise. In my case, I regularly donate to charity. Is it so wrong to spend a little money on this one project? Some people spend their monthly wage/allowance on new clothes they don’t need, should we also tell them they should instead use it for something else? I must also point out that all leftover money donated to the Skybanner Project is being redirected to the support of underprivileged children in Korea under 2PM’s name. This amount is in excess of $1000… what else could you ask for?”



“The whole ordeal was ‘creepy’/ going overboard.”


“1500+ fans seem to think differently. Of course, people are entitled to their own opinions, and this is why we did not ask for donations from these individuals. I often tweeted and asked followers for their own opinions, and offered refunds if they wanted to withdraw. Of course, occasionally an idea is going to be outside the box, and this can be perceived as crazy and creepy. I agree with the crazy comment – I also thought I could never accomplish this, but the awesome thing about this is that Hottests from all over the world have come together to support one crazy cause. Creepy? Hmmm… I’m not really sure how to react to that. Do they mean creepy as in stalkerish? I’m in Australia, I can’t physically do anything. Honestly, I really don’t understand this comment. Only people who didn’t try to understand our initial intentions would misinterpret the project that much, so I don’t really mind.”


“Jay may not have wanted or agreed with the whole project himself.”

“There seem to be a lot of those things going around, don’t you think? I believe we all just try our hardest to follow what we believe in, especially when we’re given little facts about the situation… but in all honesty, how will we know unless Jaebeom actually comes out and truthfully says ‘stop, this is not what I want.’ The simple truth is that he hasn’t, so we can only continue doing what we hope is right.”

“Leave Jay alone.”



“I think this is mostly because of the Kpop articles that came out in English and then were translated into Korean for the Korean media. Unfortunately, these reports were slightly wrong, due to the fact that we had never wanted to ask Jaebeom to come back.”

***

What can you say about the POSITIVE support you’ve received?


“There’s been so much of it. From people tweeting to us and thanking us for completing the project, to some saying they cried when they saw the photos, to others actually going to the trouble of thanking Tiffie and I on every forum we’ve ever advertised on so that we see their messages. It’s been overwhelming, and has really helped enforce our belief that it was right to continue on despite everything.”

***


P.S. Please take out with credits. Major thanks to Briar for the hard work and for agreeing to do this interview with me.

Coming soon: More on THE AFTERMATH OF THE SKY BANNER PROJECT, and the LETTER SENT TO THE PASTOR OF JAY’S CHURCH.



Love, respect and PEACE for Jaebeom.


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33 Responses

  1. AWW..I MISS JAY : )
    AND THX BRIAR AND TIFFIE!!!!!

  2. I’m really proud of Briar and Tiffie ❤

    Once again, I would like to say thank you ^^ Through this project, Hottests have managed to unite together despite being located at the extreme ends of the world ^^;;;

    THANK YOU! LOVE YOU! LOVE & RESPECT ❤

  3. thanks for the clarification for Blair and Tiffie.
    They really need this interview to clarify themselves..
    Hope this might help those who misinterpreted the initial intention of theirs understand more.
    Blair and Tiffie did a good job on this sky banner project.
    In addition, that lady who donated a large sum of money, thank you too.
    Without her donation, it wouldn’t be a success. 🙂

  4. i have always supported this project the day i heard about it. i was even excited to give out donation for it. i’m glad it went through and i hope Jay saw it. BIG thanks to Briar and Tiffie! keep up the good work. i’ll be waiting to hear more projects from yall soon!

  5. I never regret for supporting this project since the beginning. Hope there will be more exciting and meaningful project like that in the future. Thanks Briar, Tiffie, the lady who donated the big amount of money and fans around the world ^^ We get closer because of your project.

  6. I supported this whole thing!! =]
    So proud of them for going through with it.
    I wanted to see the banner when it flew but
    I was working too far south so I wouldn’t see it even if I tried.
    Thanks for clearifiying this to those who didn’t understand,
    The sky banner project and criticized it.

  7. finally this is something that will NOT be misinterpreted. i hope O.O
    I waas right to support all these! Keep up the good work B&T!!!\
    We’re rooting 4 ya, n we’ve got cha back!

  8. YES! I LOVE this interview, Briar! Thanks for taking the time to get the facts straight! I hope this spreads to the other kpop sites and more people will understand the TRUE purpose of the project. i love you all hotties!

  9. aww thanks so much briar and tiffie! ive always supported this project and always will support you guys! thanks again for all your hard work! love youuuu! ❤

  10. this was a really informative post. i really like the fact that you actually interview the person in charge instead of jumping to conclusions about the project. Also, the project was so thoughtful. To actually go above and beyond. I thought the sky banner idea was original and brilliant. 2pm fans are really the greatest.

  11. I really do miss Jay. LOTS OF LOVE from MN goes out to Jay, the rest of our 2PM boys and of course Briar and Tiffie.

  12. Thank you so much for this interview/article. I’ve been very supportive of this project from the beginning and was really upset at people twisting and misinterpretating the reason behind this project. Thank you so much to all those who were part of this project, especially briar and tiffie ❤

  13. Great job Briar and Tiffie, such a great fans u are.
    hope Jay knew our good intention of flying the flag ^^

  14. Thanks Briar and Tiffie! hottest around the world appreciate u for this project.

  15. This is a great way to let people know the intentions of what was going on or was put into this project. People need to stop being close minded. They sometimes take good intentions and put it in with the bad. I’m glad Briar and Tiffie stuck through and didn’t let anything get the best of them.

    People will keep talking, but the rest of us know the intentions and how much love and support that everyone has for Jay.

  16. Thank you Briar and Tiffie! and Briar is sooo smart at the interview too. There’s another secret project I know about Jay too (can’t tell you anyway otherwise Jay’d be in trouble but it’s done already)
    Through all the talk on that project before they shut it down, it’s informed that Jay’s family is actually touched by this skybanner project. So Thank you sooo much

  17. This is such an inspiring story. All the work and time spent for this project, really. Thank you to Briar and Tiffie and all that contributed to the banner that hopefully Jaebum saw. It’s touching to see things getting accomplished from one side of the world to the other through global unity and support of fans :]

  18. […] 5, 2009 by jxxviii Ok. So. This exclusive interview was conducted by floating stars on wordpress, who interviewed the [I'm sure] lovely girl Briar Francis, a 19 year old girl from […]

  19. hi! thankyou for conducting this interview, Floatingstars, so now fans of 2PM now know who to thank for this massive and awesome project- Briar [Australia present! ^^] and Tiffie! If you don’t mind I’ve linked this page of yours onto a post of mine on my wordpress, so then people are re-directed here for the full interview. Many thanks again! ❤
    2pm ❤

  20. you guys are so awesome, i hope jay did see it and would see just how much he means to all of us, thanks so much!

  21. grate job…..thank u to Briar and Tiffie

  22. Hey Great Job!!.. I cried reading the news. Making Jaebeom and Hottests smile.. That is a goood thing.

    Discard the negativity and bring in more Positivity..

    Thanks Briar and Tiffie for this project….

  23. […] The truth behind the Sky Banner Project for Jaebeom: ORGANIZER TELLS ALL A writer once said, “to have faith is to have wings.” In the recent events following the departure of Park […] […]

  24. honestLy, i’m not a 2PM fan..i don’t even know any of their song (oh, except for one titLe “again and again” ???) . . . but i’d Like to give some props to Briar and Tiffie..whatever other peopLe’s opinion gave, what they did was give hope (smiLe) to a person judged by so many others who don’t even know him (Jaebom) much..seriosLy, those netizens are too much! try Living in another country, see how you guys are treated..it’s hard to expLain but i think i have some shrewd idea on what he went through..and for pete’s sake, he was stiLL young and most LikeLy immature during those times..LastLy, hopefuLLy those netizens can think of a situation where they said something they didn’t reaLLy mean by bLurted it out due to spur of the moment..okay, this comment is going way Long than i expected..again, props to the organizers..peace out!

    • I was previously like you too aissa, only hearing about 2PM by hearing their songs, but my sister was a big fan and she was really mad at how someone could be so brick headed and so inconsiderate and…I got sucked in. Like you said, imagine coming to a country by yourself, where the language is not one you’re fluent with, nad you spent all day training like crazy, feeling frustrated and lonely. I’ve got to say I’m a big supporter of 2PM now; all the boys deserve lots of love and support I think, they do try their very best and everyone makes mistakes! Being an idol doesn’t exclude you from making mistakes, although there are some people who seem to think that 😦

  25. […] The truth behind the Sky Banner Project for Jaebeom: ORGANIZER TELLS ALL A writer once said, “to have faith is to have wings.” In the recent events following the departure of Park Jaebeom from 2PM and consequently from Korea, this quote seems to have taken another level of meaning. Hottests all over the world have tried to express their sentiments by sending boxes of letters, signing petitions, joining silent protests, organizing flash mobs and in many other means. But on September 28th, at exactly 2PM, the Hottests have taken this dedication up to the sky. All the way from Australia, Briar Francis, 19, one of the main organizers of the Sky Banner Project, tells it all. […]

  26. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

  27. I dont know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    …..Frank Scurley

  28. Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.
    LOL,

  29. ive seen the video in the local news.. i was amazed with the project itself.. didnt know that there were brilliant minds hud pull something like that to support jay.. thanks briar and tiffie!

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