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K-pop stars BTS visits the White House

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By Shella Artillero - - 5 Mins Read

On Tuesday, May 31, South Korean boy band BTS met with President Joe Biden at the White House to discuss hate crimes against Asians. BTS is a fundraising powerhouse for US social justice initiatives.

Prior to the meeting, the K-pop artists delivered brief statements to the media, calling for an end to atrocities against Asian Americans.

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

Through a translator, band member Jimin said, "We were devastated by the recent spike of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes." "In order to put an end to this and support the cause, we'd like to use this occasion to express ourselves once more." 

The conference took place as Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander month came to an end in May, following a spike in hate crimes against the community over the previous year.


As some politicians and commentators have encouraged Americans to blame China for COVID-19, attacks against persons of Asian heritage have increased.

The White House said one purpose of the meeting, which was restricted to the press, was to "address the significance of diversity and inclusion, as well as BTS' position as youth ambassadors who carry a message of hope and happiness around the world."

Since their debut in 2013, the musicians have been noted for leveraging their lyrics and social initiatives to empower young people. Their fan base spans generations, tying their purchasing power to an internet-savvy age that understands the value of social media.

BTS fans raised $1 million in one day for US social justice groups in the #MatchAMillion internet campaign in June 2020, matching the band's donation to Black Lives Matter.

Big Hit Music, the group's management, expressed its gratitude for the invitation to the White House.

“As we are visiting as artists representing South Korea, we look forward to discussing various topics including inclusion, diversity, anti-Asian hate crimes, culture and art,” Big Hit Music said. 


Members stated they were still "surprised" that music generated by South Korean artists reaches so many people throughout the world, despite linguistic and cultural hurdles. "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.

Biden's first trip to Asia as President included a three-day stop in Seoul and meetings with freshly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

With songs like "Butter" and "Dynamite," the trio has gained international recognition, and their "Army" of admirers spans the globe.

Anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic spiked

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 recall moments when we encountered discrimination as Asians when we were subjected to unjustified expletives, criticized for our appearance, and even asked why Asians spoke in English," the band stated in a statement that was shared 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.

Biden "has previously spoken about his commitment to tackling the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes," according to a White House news release announcing the meeting. He signed a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes into law in May 2021. 

It will create a new position at the Justice Department to expedite the investigation of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes and events reported at the federal, state, and local levels.

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.