KPop stars Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, collectively known as the South Korean boy band BTS—which stands for Bangtan Boys—visited the White House in May 31, 2022.
BTS joined Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the daily press briefing for the last day of the AANHPI Heritage Month. Their group was invited to speak about Asian diversity, representation, and inclusion as well as discrimination, violence, and hate crimes against Asians.
Their group leader RM (full name Kim Nam-joon), spoke first. He said, “It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity.”
“We join the White House to stand with the AANHPI community and to celebrate,” said Jin (Kim Seok-jin).
Further, Jimin (Park Ji-min) said, “We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes. To put a stop to this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
J-Hope, on the other hand, said, “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.”
Meanwhile, Jungkook (Jeon Jung-kook) said during the event, “We still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers.” He added, “We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
For Suga’s part, he said, “It’s not wrong to be different. I think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
Lastly, V said, “Everyone has their own history. We hope today one is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and everyone as a valuable person.”
Watch the entire proceedings below:
According to a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes increased 339 percent nationwide in 2021. Even the BTS members themselves—a group that’s currently a global sensation with over 90 million fans worldwide—had been on the receiving end of racism in the past and they even released a statement last year about it. It reads:
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians speak English.”
BTS reportedly joined President Joe Biden himself for a meeting in the Oval Office afterward.