BTS, the South Korean K-pop stars, spoke at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday as special envoys for the South Korean president. In their speech, announced last Tuesday as a “message of comfort and hope to young people worldwide,” BTS encouraged listeners to get vaccinated and discouraged them from feeling downtrodden during the pandemic.
If you haven’t watched it, I recommend you do! When I must hear from famous people, I prefer those who aren’t toying around with conspiracy theories under the guise of curiosity.
“Yes, all seven of us, of course we’ve received vaccinations,” BTS member J-Hope said. “The vaccine was a sort of ticket to meeting our fans waiting for us and to being able to stand here before you today.”
BTS leader RM said: “I’ve heard that people in their teens and 20s today are being referred to as Covid’s lost generation. I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost, just because the path they tread can’t be seen by grown-up eyes.”
Monday marked the second time in three years BTS has spoken in front of the General Assembly. Back in fall 2018, the group spoke about ending violence against children and young people. If you’re wondering why — I want to be kind here — it’s possible you’re not cool. But it’s also possible you simply aren’t online enough. BTS fans — known as the “BTS ARMY” — are famously active on social media, and not solely in conversations about their favorite stars. Fans of BTS — and K-pop fans broadly — have become actively involved in online politics, as well.
Last year, BTS fans matched a $1 million donation the group made to Black Lives Matter in about one day, they took credit for a coordinated campaign they say drove down attendance at a Trump rally in Oklahoma, and they helped drown out a “white lives matter” hashtag with memes on Twitter.
BTS’ speech Monday morning has garnered more than 6 million views already, a large number of which are undeniably from K-pop fans. They made their presence known by flooding the video’s comments section with purple hearts, a BTS signature. Often, rabid fan bases online will use anonymity and pseudonymity to harass and bully. Monday was a surprising departure from the norm.
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