It’s Christmas in 1997. Teenagers from Tokyo to New York, and everywhere in between, are getting ready to watch Spice World The Movie at their local cinemas. Number one hit single Spice Up Your Life is playing on the radio, and their bedroom walls are covered in posters of Scary (Mel B), Baby (Emma Bunton), Ginger (Geri Halliwell), Posh ( Victoria Beckham ) and Sporty (Melanie C). They’ve probably received one of the must-have Spice Girls dolls as a gift from Santa, and their stockings are filled with Spice Girls lollipops and pencil cases. If they are lucky, they’ll even capture the holidays on their bright pink Polaroid Spice Cams. Without even looking at the stats, it was clear that British pop sensation Spice Girls were the biggest girl band the world had ever seen. From pop music to politics, it was a Spice World, and we were just living in it. Fast forward 20-something-years since Spice mania, and there’s a whiff of girl power in the air again. This time, however, it’s four girls from South Korea (OK, not technically, but we’ll get back to that) that are taking over the world. BTS and Blackpink take on America, but is this the best they have to offer? Blackpink’s The Album is setting the charts alight in every territory imaginable, the Blackpink: Light Up the Sky documentary is No 1 on Netflix , and their high-end fashion campaigns are raking in millions of likes on social media – and in an ideal, non-coronavirus world they’d be on a sell-out tour. The worldwide Blackpink craze is inescapable. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a group of feisty young girls break away from their territory and go global, and it’s certainly the first time we’ve seen it coming from South Korea – or East Asia at all. The fact that Blackpink isn’t an American band from a reality show makes this moment in time even more memorable. Indeed, there have been plenty of girl bands since the worldwide reign of the Spice Girls. But the likes of The Pussycat Dolls, Little Mix and Fifth Harmony simply haven’t had the same long-lasting impact both musically and culturally. So far, Blackpink is ticking all the boxes that made the Spice Girls both a musical and cultural phenomenon. At the time of their Korean launch in 2016, Blackpink was YG Entertainment’s first girl band in seven years after 2NE1 . Even internationally, the music industry was dominated by male rappers and DJs. Similarly, the Spice Girls launched exactly 20 years prior during a time when male singers and boy bands ruled the charts. And who doesn’t love a burst of girl power in a male-dominated industry? While most girl band members all fade into one after some time (I couldn’t pick out a Pussycat Doll in a line-up if my life depended on it), the Spice Girls’ alter-ego characters were engraved into our brains whether we liked it or not. Five diverse women – Scary Spice, Baby Spice, Ginger Spice, Posh Spice and Sporty Spice – each with their own personality, look and style. Why is Blackpink star Jisoo’s first K-drama already causing controversy? Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? From shy yet sultry Jennie to the energetic funny girl Lisa , the Blackpink girls are a diverse bunch. And just like the Spice Girls, they are not afraid to embrace their own individuality and personal style. It’s no wonder that each Blackpink girl is currently fronting a major fashion campaign for a luxury brand (Jennie for Chanel, Lisa for Celine, Jisoo for Dior and Rosé for YSL). Everyone has a favourite Blackpink girl, and there are endless GIFs on Instagram to show what team you’re on (I’m Team Lisa, if anyone’s asking). Something that sets Blackpink apart even more are their diverse international backgrounds . While the band is from South Korea, only Jisoo actually grew up there . The rest of the girls are an international hotpot from New Zealand, Australia and Thailand – a cultural mix that transcends borders and has proved an international hit. And, of course, there’s the music. No matter how much money gets thrown into marketing and PR, you can’t fake good music. After all these years, the Spice Girls’ Mama still pops up on the radio on Mother’s Day, and it’s hard to resist joining in on a karaoke jam of Wannabe . With around 85 million records sold, the Spice Girls are still the biggest-selling girl group of all time. Will Blackpink catch up? Well, that’s impossible to say, because we live in a different time. Charts are much more complicated, although going to a music store in the 90s to buy a CD single of a song that we already owned on a full length album was another level of complicated. But one thing’s for sure – Blackpink’s music is being listened to. A LOT. A quick browse across Spotify’s international charts, at pretty much any given point in time, will show various Blackpink songs dominating the top 10 in every territory imaginable, from the US to Thailand. In fact, Blackpink’s new album recently charted at No 2 on both America’s Billboard 200 and the UK’s Official Albums Chart in the week of its release. A Korean girl band? That’s unheard of, on every level. How Blackpink turned breakup into beauty tips in new Lovesick Girls MV Personalities, timing and music aside, the key to the Spice Girls’ success and iconic status is that they were bigger than a pop band – they were a movement that represented a generation. They preached girl power, individuality and friendship, which resonated with millions around the world. Ultimately, their message of positivity made people feel good. As the old Maya Angelou saying goes, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Unsurprisingly, Spice Girls fans love to reminisce and relive those happy feelings of simpler times past. So much so that the band’s 2019 sell-out reunion tour grossed a whopping US$78 million for a mere 13 performances more than two decades after the height of their success. As for Blackpink, they might not be running wild on red carpets pinching Prince Charles’ bum while shouting “girl power!” but their message certainly reflects the same feminism, individuality and friendship of their British predecessors. And it’s also resonating with millions of fans around the world, famously known as Blinks. Their army of fans is so large that if they join forces on any given day, they can impact global events and basically break the internet. After four years, the Blackpink movement is thriving and getting even bigger along the way. But will Blackpink’s music and cultural impact be remembered and celebrated for decades to come, like the Spice Girls’ girl power? So far, it’s looking highly likely. It might just be a case of “same power, different girls”. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .