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G-Dragon’s New Year plans: Anti-drug organization and a comeback

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Singer G-Dragon of boy band Big Bang attends an event hosted by carmaker BMW in southern Seoul on March 28. [NEWS1]
Singer G-Dragon of boy band Big Bang attends an event hosted by carmaker BMW in southern Seoul on March 28. [NEWS1]

When life threw G-Dragon an illegal drug use accusation, he made an anti-drug foundation out of it.

The 35-year-old Big Bang singer, whose real name is Kwon Ji-yong, will establish a foundation in 2024 dedicated to helping drug addicts, especially young people, the singer said in a hand-written letter to the press — after being cleared of all charges of illegal drug use by the police earlier this week.

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“I have gone through very difficult times this year, as you would know,” he said in the letter, read aloud by executives at his new agency Galaxy Corporation on Thursday at the JW Marriott Hotel in southern Seoul.

The singer was not present at the press conference.

“Going through such times, I have seen things I had not seen before and experienced things I never had before,” the letter continued.

“There are over 20,000 drug users in Korea, and less than 500 of them get proper rehabilitative treatment. Proper action must be taken, especially for young people exposed to dangers and people who do not realize the dangers.”

Chief ESG officers of Galaxy Corporation Oh Hee-young, left, and Cho Sung-hae attend the press conference for G-Dragon's 2024 plans at the JW Marriott Hotel in southern Seoul [GALAXY CORPORATION]
Chief ESG officers of Galaxy Corporation Oh Hee-young, left, and Cho Sung-hae attend the press conference for G-Dragon’s 2024 plans at the JW Marriott Hotel in southern Seoul [GALAXY CORPORATION]

The foundation, the name of which was not revealed on Thursday, will be dedicated to combatting drug addiction, curing drug addicts and supporting smaller artists, according to G-Dragon’s letter.

“This is how Kwon Ji-yong wishes to start 2024,” he said in the letter. “I will come back and fulfill my duties as an artist, and also my duties to society. I hope you all fulfill your duties in your own places. Only when such thoughts and minds come together and act, do I believe that change can come.”

The statement is also largely believed to be referring to a new music release by the artist next year.

The first donation after establishing the foundation will be made in the name of V.I.P, Big Bang’s fan club, whom he repeatedly thanked in the letter for standing by his side through the recent turmoil. He also thanked his former agency YG Entertainment for having spent over 20 years together and making him who he is today.

“It’s been a truly tumultuous year for me this year,” he said. “The reason I could wrap everything up as smoothly as I did was because I told myself not to give up because I’m not alone — we are together all around the world. It was thanks to the V.I.P fan club, which embraced me with love and thought of my troubles as their own, that I did not lose energy or feel lonely.”

Singer G-Dragon talks to the press at the Incheon Nonhyun Police Station on Nov. 6. [YONHAP]
Singer G-Dragon talks to the press at the Incheon Nonhyun Police Station on Nov. 6. [YONHAP]

Thursday’s press conference came three days after the Incheon Nonhyun Police Station officially closed the case against G-Dragon on Monday, both to address the recent drug scandal in which the artist was embroiled and announce the singer’s plans for the upcoming year.

“G-Dragon has been cleared of all charges against his drug use, and we ask for your support in his new path to come,” Cho Sung-hae, chief ESG officer of Galaxy Corporation, told reporters.

Galaxy Corporation, founded in 2019, is G-Dragon’s current agency and a local AI metaverse developer that has been expanding into the entertainment industry by acquiring talent agencies and production studios. The company emphasized that it has recently signed an exclusive contract with G-Dragon but refused to disclose when the deal was made.

Meanwhile, G-Dragon has been denying all accusations since he was booked on the suspicion of drug use on Oct. 25.

Singer G-Dragon [SCREEN CAPTURE]
Singer G-Dragon [SCREEN CAPTURE]

An investigation began after a manager at a nightclub claimed she “saw a strange package” in the bathroom of a bar after G-Dragon left and that he had “acted strange” afterward, in December last year.

However, all drug tests on his fingernails, toenails and hair have come back negative, and the police decided not to hand his file over to the prosecution.

According to Cho, G-Dragon “does not blame the police” for the accusation or the investigation that followed “because it is their job to start an investigation when an allegation is made.” G-Dragon complied and thanked the police for their everyday work.

“Kwon Ji-yong diligently took part in the police investigations in order to prove his innocence,” Cho said. “The ever-growing speculative reports and malicious comments wore on his person and left an irrevocable scar. He continues to agonize over hateful comments even though his case has been cleared.”

G-Dragon of boy band Big Bang at Coex, southern Seoul, attends an event for his sister's fashion brand WE11DONE on Sept. 7. [NEWS1]
G-Dragon of boy band Big Bang at Coex, southern Seoul, attends an event for his sister’s fashion brand WE11DONE on Sept. 7. [NEWS1]

The agency warned that firm measures would be taken against any further accusations or false rumors in the future.

“We will give a week, until Dec. 28, for anyone to delete or change online posts containing false accusations,” Cho said. “Afterward, we will adopt a no-tolerance policy and take strong legal measures. The reason Kwon Ji-yong took part in the investigation was because he had nothing to hide. But we want to make sure that no other innocent person is harmed in the future.”

G-Dragon debuted as a member of the boy band Big Bang in 2006 under YG Entertainment. The band saw sensational success throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s. His exclusive contract with YG Entertainment ended in June.

He was previously questioned for alleged marijuana use in 2011 by the prosecution, but his indictment was suspended after he confessed to having inhaled the substance unintentionally.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]