California Observer

K-pop supergroup BTS visits the White House, meets with President Biden


Image Source: New York Post

BTS, a Korean pop supergroup, attended a White House news conference on Tuesday and will meet with Vice President Joe Biden as part of a visit to discuss Asian inclusion and representation, as well as anti-Asian hate crimes and misinformation. 

“While many of you may recognize BTS as Grammy-nominated international icons, they also serve as essential youth ambassadors, spreading a message of respect and positivity,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. 

Following Jean-introduction, Pierre’s each member of the boy band spoke at the platform, much of it in Korean. RM, the band’s leader and the sole English-speaking member, began by thanking Jean-Pierre for her “nice comments” and introducing the band. 

“Hello, we’re BTS,” he said. “It’s 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.” 

Through an interpreter, the rest of the group stated that they “attended the White House to stand with” the AAPI community “and to celebrate.” 

“The recent spike in hate crimes, especially hate attacks against Asian Americans, has left us distraught. To put a stop to it and show our support for the cause, we’d like to utilize this occasion to express ourselves once more “According to the translation. “We are here today thanks to our army—our global fans—who represent a diverse range of ethnicities, cultures, and languages.” 

Members of the group said they were still “surprised” that “music generated by South Korean musicians reaches so many people all over the world, crossing languages and cultural barriers.” “We feel that music is a magnificent and amazing unifier of all things.” 

According to a White House official, the group will also film “digital content” for White House social media outlets. 

Their Oval Office meeting with Biden will be closed to the press. 

The group’s visit comes just days after Biden returned from his first trip to Asia as President, which included a three-day stop in Seoul and meetings with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who was just elected.

With songs like “Butter” and “Dynamite,” the group has gained international acclaim, and their “Army” of followers hail from all corners of the globe. 

During a wave of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States last year, including shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, BTS came out about their own mistreatment. 

“We recollect instances in which we, as Asians, were subjected to prejudice. We’ve had expletives spat at us without cause, and we’ve been humiliated for our appearance. We were even questioned about why Asians spoke English “The band announced in a statement that their post had been retweeted over 1 million times. 

“We cannot put into words the sorrow of becoming the target of hatred and violence for such a reason,” they continued. 

During the Covid-19 outbreak, there has been an increase in anti-Asian crime and animosity toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Between March 19, 2020, and December 31, 2021, more than 10,000 hate incidents against AAPI people were reported to the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate. 

“He has already spoken about his commitment to combatting the spike of anti-Asian hate crimes,” the White House said in a statement announcing the meeting. In May 2021, he signed into law a bipartisan bill aiming at combating the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. It will create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite the review of any Covid-19-related hate crimes and events that have been reported at the federal, state, or local level. 

“Biden and BTS will also discuss the significance of diversity and inclusion, as well as BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who carry a message of hope and optimism around the world,” the White House noted.

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