K-Pop and politics are a formidable pairing. From buying up tickets to a Trump rally in Tulsa in 2020 to drowning out racist accounts on Twitter with floods of fancams, in recent years K-Pop stans and artists have proved themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.
So it’s arguably no surprise that BTS – the world’s best-selling artists – have now fixed their sights on eradicating anti-Asian hate.
On Tuesday, the K-Pop group – Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook – visited the White House to discuss anti-Asian racism with President Joe Biden and mark the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The group spoke to reporters in the White House briefing room via interpreters before meeting the President. “It's not wrong to be different,” Suga said. “Maybe equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
V added: “We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and everyone as a valuable person.”
Jimin stressed the need for action. “We were devastated by the recent surge in hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes. To put a stop to this and support the cause we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
Crimes against Asian Americans rose by more than 300 per cent last year, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, an increase compounded by former President Donald Trump blaming ‘China’ for the COVID-19 pandemic. Tragically, in 2021, six Asian women were shot and killed in a racist attack in Atlanta.
Dozens of fans congregated outside the White House, hoping to catch a glimpse of their idols. A young fan named Damaris Monroy Hernandez spoke to the Guardian: “I’m just happy they came here because I love the fact that they’re spreading awareness about the Asian hate that’s happening in the world,” she said. “They’re amazing people.”