K-pop group BTS visited the White House on Tuesday, the last day of Asian American and Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month, to speak about Asian inclusion and representation as well asThe world famous South Korean boy band made an appearance at the White House press conference and later met President Joe Biden.
Each member of the Grammy-nominated group spoke to the press in Korean, and then a translator repeated their message in English. “Today is the last day of AANHPI Heritage Month, we join the White House to support the AANHPI community and celebrate,” said group member Kim Seok-jin through ‘an interpreter.
“We have been devastated by the recent wave of hate crimes, including Asian-American hate crimes,” Park Jimin said. “To put an end to this and support the cause, we would like to take this opportunity to speak out again.”
In 2021, when crimes against Asian Americans increased during the pandemic, BTS released a statement about the “sorrow and anger” they felt over deadly attacks on Asian Americans. The group offered the members’ “sincere condolences” to those who lost their lives and opened up about the anti-Asian racism they experienced.
“We are here today thanks to our ‘Army’ – our fans from all over the world – who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages, we are truly and forever grateful,” J-Hope said during the press conference, via the translator.
“We are always amazed that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers. We believe that music is still an incredible unifier of all things,” Jungkook said.
“It’s okay to be different, equality starts when we open up and accept all of our differences,” Suga said.
“Everyone has their own story, we hope today is a step towards respecting and understanding everyone as a person of value,” said V.
The group did not answer any questions, but will join the president for a more in-depth discussion on the issue of Asian inclusion and anti-Asian hate crimes.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden “led a historic, whole-of-government approach to address the racism, xenophobia and intolerance faced by communities of AANHPI when he issued a presidential memorandum, leveraging the power of the federal government to oppose the state”.
The President also signed theinto law to address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an executive order to reinstate the White House Asian American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander initiative and funded critical research to prevent and address xenophobia against these communities, said Jean Pierre.
Jean-Pierre said that BTS plays an important role as ambassadors of youth, conveying a message of respect and positivity.