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Call it the BTS House now! The boys of BTS made an appearance alongside Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s press briefing in honor of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month following a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.
The group — comprising of Jungkook, V, Jimin, Suga, Jin, RM, and J-Hope — know how to draw a crowd wherever they go. They walked into the room to an audience much larger than normally gathered for a Biden press meeting. And just like ARMY, their phones were out hoping to capture the moment on camera.
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Each took a moment during the conference to speak on the pressing concern of rising anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity. They spoke first in Korean then swiftly translated before they headed out without taking press questions.
“We’re BTS and 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,” RM said in the band’s opening remarks. He then passed to Jin, who said: “Today’s the last day of the AANHPI Heritage Month. We join the White House to stand with the AANHPI community and to celebrate.”
“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes,” Jimin followed up. “To put a tough stop on this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
J Hope added: “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.”
“We still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers,” Jungkook shared. “We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
Suga expanded on J-Hope’s earlier point, saying: “It’s not wrong to be different. Then equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
“Everyone has their own history,” V concluded. “We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person.”
“Lastly, we thank President Biden and the White House for giving us this important opportunity to speak about the important causes and remind ourselves of what we can do as artists. Once again, thank you very much,” RM wrapped up.
The press clamored for a few questions, but BTS were already through the door, sharing polite apologies on their way out.
The White House announced the K-pop group’s Washington, D.C. visit last week, sharing that the group would discuss “Asian inclusion and representation” and address anti-Asian discrimination with Joe Biden.
Last year, the group denounced anti-Asian racism in the United States in a statement condemning violence. “We stand against racial discrimination,” the group wrote. “You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
“We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look” — but called these instances “inconsequential” compared the uptick in anti-Asian violence. Still, they added, “these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem. … What is happening right now cannot be dissociated from our identity as Asians.”
The group previously spoke to Rolling Stone about the impact they hope their music has in combatting hate.
“The way we think is that everything that we do, and our existence itself, is contributing to the hope for leaving this xenophobia, these negative things, behind. It’s our hope, too, that people in the minority will draw some energy and strength from our existence,” RM said at the time. “Yes, there’s xenophobia, but there are also a lot of people who are very accepting. . . . The fact that we have faced success in the United States is very meaningful in and of itself.”
The group’s visit to the White House comes just several days before they’re set to release Proof, an anthology album with music from throughout their discography, new tracks, and some unreleased demos.
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