The K-Pop BTS sensation visited the White House on Tuesday to talk to President Joe Biden about tackling the rise of hate crimes against Asian Americans, leading to the sad and scary topic of the superstar.
WASHINGTON (AP) – K-Pop sensation BTS visited the White House on Tuesday to talk to President Joe Biden about tackling the rise of hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, leading to a sad and scary superstar theme.
Band members J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Chimin joined White House spokeswoman Caryn Jean-Pierre at her briefing with reporters on the last day of Asian American and Pacific Heritage Heritage Month. Chimin said the group was “devastated by a recent surge” of crime and intolerance towards Asian Americans who have persisted since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not wrong to be different,” Shuga said through an interpreter. “Equality begins when we open up and accept all our differences.” V said that “everyone has their own story.”
“We hope that today is a step forward in understanding and respecting everyone as a valuable person,” added V.
The band members were in black suits and ties and took turns briefly climbing to the podium. Later Tuesday, the BTS was scheduled to meet with Biden in the Oval Office behind closed doors.
Since its debut in 2013, BTS has received worldwide recognition for the music and activity of the participants, who create independently, including a performance at the United Nations. The band topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts three times in 2020 and has been nominated for outstanding music awards such as the Grammy, Billboard Music Awards and MTV Video Music Awards.
The usually cramped White House briefing room was even busier than usual as journalists covering the BTS filled the aisles next to rows of chairs designated for outlets that visit regularly. The live broadcast of the White House – not known for attracting a large audience in the middle of the day – attracted more than 230,000 viewers before the event.
After the band members spoke and translated their comments, reporters began asking them questions, but Jean-Pierre, who had previously said the members would not answer questions, intervened, saying, “We’re going to go.” This prompted BTS participants to suggest, “We’re sorry” when they left the podium.
The group was followed by Brian Deez, director of the White House National Economic Council, who spoke to reporters after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell met with Biden earlier in the day.
“I’m going home and telling my kids that BTS has opened up for me,” Deez joked, adding that he was sure the audience was “just as happy” to talk about the impact of inflation on the U.S. economy as it was for the band.
The scene was hilarious, but the problem that led the South Korean group to the White House was not. The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination since 2020 has included the killing in March 2021 of eight people in massage campaigns in the Atlanta area, including six women of Asian descent.
After these shootings, Asian American organizations throughout the United States organized rallies of unity and went on social networks calling for an end to racist attacks. A few days later, BTS tweeted, “We oppose racial discrimination,” and included the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate.
“We condemn violence. You, me and all of us have the right to respect, ”BTS wrote then. “We will stand together.”
On Tuesday, the band thanked its fans, and Chonguk said: “We are still amazed that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, overcoming language and cultural barriers.”
“We believe that music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things,” he added.
Jean-Pierre said the group hopes for the “fight against racism, xenophobia, intolerance” faced by Asian communities. She noted that Biden had signed legislation to combat hate crimes COVID-19 and ordered a resumption of the White House initiative against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific residents, while helping to promote research to prevent racism against such racism. .
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