Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

*This article is a special contribution from John Leepastor, singer, and founder of 3rd Wave Music. He met Sulli in 2012 when they toured together with Super Junior and has written this article from his personal perspective about Sulli.

Thinking about Sulli, I remember that moment…

In 2012, it was the brightest stage I’ve ever been on. The spotlight was on, the roar of the crowd was deafening, and we would sing to the crowds of thousands. The people loved the music, and they loved the artists. I couldn’t believe that I was singing on stage for the Super Junior Super Show 4 World Tour. 

I remember finishing the song I sang. I came back to the dressing room, and I was sharing a green room with f(x). They were a girl group from SM Entertainment, and they were part of the world tour too. 

What struck me as so beautiful and touching were all the gifts that the fans gave to the girls. They sent over teddy bears and gift bags. You would see food assigned with the girls’ names because the fans wanted to make sure each girl was taken care of.

I remember meeting different members. I would share a bag of potato chips with Amber. She was so young and energetic. And I remember seeing Sulli too. They were all so happy and full of life.

Sulli’s life has been cut short by a terribly taboo topic: suicide. I’ve been in Asia long enough to know that it is a word brushed under the rug.  It’s the word nobody wants to talk about. I’ve been in and around entertainment for years, and I saw models commit suicide, as well as artists, actors, and so many people who struggled. 

We’ve lost another shining star. When all the glitz and glamour wears off, all of the actors, actresses, singers, and artists are just regular people like you and I. They are people filled with emotions that have been drained by the necessity to put on a fake smile for hours, if not days, that then turned into months. Real people feel the pain of words. Real people feel lonely. Real people get depressed. 

I’ve been working on a project called the YOU MATTER Project that wants to honor the deaths of people like Jonghyun.  Their lives must not be forgotten. Sadly, we must add another name to that list: Sulli. In honor of them, we must remind people that there is hope and that people care. There are far more people who love and care for us than we realize. In the end, it’s not just the artists. There are so many people in Asia who are suffering from depression and hopelessness. They are on their last strings. They are the ones that we need to tell, “YOU MATTER.”

The entertainment business is ruthless. It is, in the end, a business. And it lost a soldier. Sulli will not, however, be a forgotten comrade. We will remember everything beautiful about her, and we will tell others that Sulli mattered in this life.