Update 06.01.2022: “Hate only hides. When good people talk about it and say how bad it is, it goes down,” President Joe Biden said in a statement following his meeting with BTS. “People care a lot about what you say, and what you are doing is good for all people. It’s not just your good talent. It’s the message you are communicating. It matters.
“We want to say thank you, sincerely, for your decision such as signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law,” BTS said of the meeting with President Biden. “So we just want to be a little help and we truly appreciate the White House and government’s (efforts) trying to find solutions.”
At the end of the meeting, President Biden gave commemorative coins as gifts.
Original: “While many of you may know BTS as Grammy-nominated international icons, they also play an important role as youth ambassadors promoting a message of respect and positivity,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said when the group — Jungkook, V, Jimin, Suga, Jin, RM, and J-Hope – stopped by Tuesday (May 31). The visit was in honor of Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, and it gave the band a chance to speak out against the rising number anti-Asian hate crimes in the country. “Today’s the last day of the AANHPI Heritage Month. We join the White House to stand with the AANHPI community and to celebrate,” said RM. From there, each member gave a statement.
“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes,” said Jimin, per Rolling Stone. “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 gave thanks to their ARMY (the name of BTS fans) “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,” said Jungkook. “We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.” “It’s not wrong to be different. Then equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences,” added Suga. “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.”
RM thanked President Joe Biden and the White House for 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.” Much to the chagrin of the ARMY in the White House press corps., the group didn’t take any questions afterward.
The band was scheduled to meet with President Biden in the Oval Office to discuss “the need to come together in solidarity, Asian inclusion, and representation, and addressing anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination,” per the White House’s schedule (h/t USA Today).
In 2021, BTS spoke out against the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, including the shootings at three spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area. “We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” the band said in a statement, per CNN. “We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason.”