- 01 Jun 22
BTS continue to use their prominence to bolster support for intercultural relations during Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.
The final day of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month saw the collision of two cultural phenomena within one of the world's most iconic buildings. All seven members of the South Korean boy band BTS met with Joe Biden to give statements addressing the rise of Asian discrimination worldwide. BTS fans, known as the "army" gathered around the White House gates as they made their entrance for the press conference.
The meeting is a sight to behold. It's a reminder that we should celebrate the skyrocketing success of K-pop on the global stage. BTS have not only succeeded in bringing national attention to South Korean music, they've also been powerful figures in promoting inter-cultural awareness.
Sitting down with the band, Biden said: "People care a lot about what you say, and what you're doing is good for all people. It's not just your great talent, it's the message you're communicating. It matters."
At a packed press conference, stars Jimin, J-Hope, V, Suga, Jungkook, Jin, and RM all lined up behind the podium, dressed uniformly in dark suits. Each gave a short statement in Korean that was then translated by an interpreter.
“We were devastated by the recent surge in hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes," Jimin began, "To put a stop to this and support the cause we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
“We are here today thanks to our Army — our fans worldwide — who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful.” added J Hope.
V said, “We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and everyone as a valuable person.”
Suga also added, “It’s not wrong to be different, equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
Concluding their speech, Jungkook said that he was “surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world…we believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
Last year, Biden signed a bipartisan bill hoping to address the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. According to the Centre for the Study of Hate and Extremism, the number rose by a staggering 300% last year. This development was no doubt fuelled by Covid accusations against China. The bill was introduced to boost public outreach and aid in the reporting of hate crimes.
Watch the video of the meeting below.
It was great to meet with you, @bts_bighit. Thanks for all you’re doing to raise awareness around the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.
I look forward to sharing more of our conversation soon. pic.twitter.com/LnczTpT2aL
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 1, 2022