2NE1’s agency YG Entertainment has announced on the 5th April that Minzy (Gong Minji) has left the group. The contracts of all the members are set to expire in May and so far, the 3 remaining (CL, Dara and Bom) girls have decided to stay with the company whereas Minzy’s contract is not going to be renewed.
CEO Yang Hyun-suk has moreover announced that the group will continue promoting as 3 and that no member is currently being sought in order to replace Minzy.
The girl group, originally composed of CL, Bom, Dara and Minzy, debuted in 2009 under YG Entertainment, the same label popular boy band BIG BANG is signed under. They have released 2 full albums as well as 2 mini-albums and were primarily known for their strong image and powerful live performances.
The group also has several major hits throughout its career, including “Fire”, “I Don’t Care”, “Can’t Nobody”, “Go Away”, “Lonely” and arguably their biggest success yet, “I Am The Best”.
2014 album “CRUSH” has been their last release, leading to hits such as “Come Back Home” and “Gotta Be You” as well as extensive touring, including concerts outside of Korea.
Their career took a toll during that year however when Bom got involved into an alleged “drug scandal”. Reports were released that 4 years prior to the news, the group’s main vocalist was accused of having smuggled drugs that, according to agency statements, had been prescribed back when she lived in the US, but are illegal in South Korea.
Since then, the group has been inactive as a whole, with the exception of a 2015 MAMA live stage. Leader CL is currently trying to grab a hold in the US whereas Dara has been involved into web dramas. Not much has been heard about Minzy thoughout this time.
Gong Minji debuted at age 16 (Korean age) as the main dancer, lead rapper and later on lead singer of the group. Although the most important vocal song parts were filled out by main vocalist and unique-tone-singer Bom, Minzy was still known among many fans as the member with the better vocal technique. Her vocals were thus used more throughout the later 2NE1 releases.
Fans have been reacting with overflowing support on social media, frequently showing understanding for the singer’s decision based on her lack of opportunities.
On the other hand, the member’s departure hasn’t been devoid of controversy. Shortly after the news, the father posted a cryptic message that has made fans questions the circumstances behind the leave. His post, mentioning the intention to hold “a press conference to release the truth”, has since then been deleted however and replaced with a new message, stating that “he doesn’t want to be misunderstood”.
Fans have been wondering whether Minzy’s departure wouldn’t shed light on other things as well. She is currently looking for a new agency, according to reports.