Crystal Kay performs a halftime show at a basketball match in Washington, D.C

Crystal Kay performs a halftime show at a basketball match in Washington, D.C. | Random J Pop

In news which took my Black ass by surprise, Crystal Kay got herself that “Kirakuni” press, flew over to the U S of A, and performed a halftime show at a Washington Wizards game on their home turf in Washington DC.

Whilst I wanted to be really happy for Crystal at being given such an amazing opportunity, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the image used to promote her performance.

Crystal Kay performs a halftime show at a basketball match in Washington, D.C. | Random J Pop
Promotional poster | Washington Wizards x Rize x LDH Japan x That old fucking photo

This photo will be used for Crystal Kay’s obituary.

Crystal Kay and LDH have been using this same damn publicity photo for the past 2 years. Can somebody please book a bitch in to take some new photos?

Crystal Kay performs a halftime show at a basketball match in Washington, D.C. | Random J Pop
Crystal Kay | Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls halftime performance

Crystal Kay performing at a basketball game in the city of Olivia Pope seems random as hell. But there is some reasoning behind it all.

*Drags out the whiteboard*

So let’s walk through this together.

The Washington Wizards has a Japanese player by the name of Rui Hachimura, who made history by becoming the first Japanese player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 2019. There was a pretty big deal made of this in Japan. The national support for Hachimura was so huge that the Washington Wizards set up an official Japanese website, along with Japanese Twitter and Instagram accounts, both of which have massive followings.

Washington is also known for its cherry blossoms, and even has a National Cherry Blossom festival - something that the Washington Wizards acknowledge with an event called Cherry Blossom Night, the night I believe on which Crystal Kay performed. The Wizards even now have a cherry blossom themed team kit for the occasion.

Those who know even just a smidgen about Japan and its history, will probably know that cherry blossoms are also a big part of Japanese culture. The cherry blossom (Japanese name: Sakura) is of huge significance of Japan and is the national flower of the country; with Sakura also being a pretty common Japanese name as a result.

Cherry blossom viewing is something that many in Japan partake in, (known as Hanami) and many festivals, outdoor activities, foods and marketing campaigns are centred around it. Many people visit Japan during the Spring specifically for Hanami, and even those who reside in Japan will visit different parts of the country for Hanami.

Washington and Japan also share a history, which is represented by cherry blossoms. Washington’s National Cherry Blossom festival commemorates the day in 1912 when Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City gifted cherry blossom trees to Washington D.C. And Seattle once had one of the largest Japanese communities in the US, and it still has a sizeable Japanese community to this day. There are several buildings, monuments and pieces of Japanese history and culture in the city itself.

So with all of the above, it’s not completely random as to why Japan would take an invested interested in a Washington basketball team, and why the powers that be who run the team and the marketing for it would reciprocate this - especially now the team has a Japanese player. So, why Crystal Kay of all people? Well, she’s busy-doing-nothing.mp3. But from a representation standpoint, Crystal is another example alongside Hachimura that being Japanese is not one thing and one look. Being Black and Japanese is absolutely a thing, and more common than people would be led to believe.

Crystal Kay performs a halftime show at a basketball match in Washington, D.C. | Random J Pop
Rui Hachimura & Crystal Kay | Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls (March 29, 2022)

Apparently Crystal Kay was due to do something with the Washington Wizards a couple of years ago, but the pandemic and strict travel restrictions stopped all that shit dead in its tracks. And even Crystal’s performance in this instance didn’t feature the dance group who were advertised to be performing with her, due to travel and (and I think) budgeting issues.

There are no official videos of Crystal Kay’s performances on YouTube as of yet. Not even on Crystal’s own channel. (That channel is becoming a lil’ bit of mess, but we’ll talk about that another time). Crystal uploaded a video to her Insta that somebody took of her, but you can barely even see her. For now, here’s a decent video of Crystal’s performance, courtesy of ichigogirl on Twitter.

I’m not sure how many songs Crystal performed. But when I saw photos of Crystal’s performance before actually watching it, and I assumed Crystal had performed “Kirakuni” due to her outfit and her fresh press. But instead she performed the MSG remix of “Hard to Say”. I personally wouldn’t have picked that song and THAT version of it. The remix of “Hard to Say” is good radio fodder, but it’s so generic. It could be by anybody and sounds like the dime a dozen songs which have been playing over the air with regularity for the past few years. Maybe that’s why Crystal chose the song, or was made to do it. It also seemed like Crystal was experiencing some audio issues. She was singing behind the track at the start, and a couple of times throughout the performances she was signalling for the volume in her in-ear monitors to be turned up. I say that she shoulda just lip synced this performance, but we know how Crystal feels about lip syncing.

It’s a shame that Crystal’s team didn’t think more about what impression they wanted to leave with her halftime performance, but that’s Crystal’s team for you. Never thinking more than one step ahead. Never thinking about the long game. And Crystal just seems fine with having the opportunity to perform.

Crystal Kay also performed the American national anthem and sounded great. Again. No official upload. Just videos that fans grabbed.

I’m happy for Crystal and she seems elated at the opportunity. But there not being much of a conversation or a deal made about Crystal performing at an NBA game is why it’s a shame that her star doesn’t burn brighter. Because Crystal having the chance to perform in the US at an NBA game should have been a bigger deal to more people than just Crystal herself. It shoulda had more of a moment on Twitter. There shoulda been official uploads of Crystal’s performances on Twitter. But this whole thing has just come and gone. And once again, as was the case with Crystal’s appearance on The Masked Singer, there is NO music release or product tie-in being pushed alongside Crystal making an appearance on such a large platform.

And speaking of “Kirakuni”, why is the song STILL not available on streaming? Where is the official HD upload of the music video?

Gurl, fire the whole management and marketing team.

🎧 CK Playlists: This is Crystal Kay | Crystal Kay: Ballads
📀 CK Special Editions: Euphoria, a Crystal Kay dance album | Sparkle, a Crystal Kay Christmas album

💿 CK album reviews: I Sing | For You | Vivid | Shine | Spin the Music | Call Me Miss... | All Yours | Color Change! | 4Real | Crystal Style | Almost Seventeen | 637 -Always & Forever- | C.L.L. ~Crystal Lover Light