Thursday, April 25

BTS at the White House: K-pop band visits press briefing and President Biden to discuss anti-Asian hate

K-pop group BTS went to the White House on Tuesday, the last day of Asian American and Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month, to talk about Asian inclusion and representation as well as the rise in anti-Asian hate. The world-famous South Korean boy band made an appearance at the White House press briefing and later met with President Joe Biden.

Each member of the Grammy-nominated band spoke to the press in Korean, and then a translator reiterated their message in English. “Today is the last day of AANHPI Heritage Month, we join the White House to stand with the AANHPI community and to celebrate,” band member Kim Seok-jin said through a translator.

“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian-American hate crimes,” Park Jimin said. “To put a stop to this and support the cause we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”

K-Pop Group BTS Joins White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre At Daily Briefing
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre welcomes members of the South Korean pop group BTS to the daily press briefing at the White House on May 31, 2022 in Washington, DC. 

/ Getty Images

In 2021, when crimes against Asian Americans spiked during the pandemic, BTS released a statement about the “grief and anger” they felt following deadly attacks on Asian Americans. The band offered members’ “deepest condolences” to people who lost their lives and opened up about the anti-Asian racism they have experienced.

“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,” J-Hope said during the news briefing, via the translator. 

“We are still surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers. We believe music is always an amazing unifier of all things,” Jungkook said.

K-Pop Group BTS Joins White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre At Daily Briefing
BTS met with U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss Asian inclusion and representation, and to discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

/ Getty Images

“It’s not wrong to be different, equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences,” Suga said.

“Everyone has their own history, we hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person,” V said. 

The band did not take any questions, but will join the president for further 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 government approach to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance facing AANHPI communities when he issued a presidential memorandum, leveraging the power of the federal government to stand against the state.”

The president also signed the COVID-19 hate crimes act into law to address the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an executive order to reestablish the White House initiative on Asian Americans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and funded critical research to prevent and address xenophobia against these communities, Jean-Pierre said.

Jean-Pierre said BTS plays an important role as youth ambassadors, providing a message of respect and positivity. 

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