On Sept. 23, BTS delivered a speech about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at the 75th UN General Assembly. After the heartfelt speech, some members of the media criticized the fact the band was selected to speak in the first place. This once again reinforced the idea that the more impact one makes in the public eye, the more critics come out of the woodwork to challenge that impact. However, regardless of what naysayers think, BTS have proven their importance on a global scale, and dismissing the Korean band will not change that.
BTS spoke at the 75th UN General Assembly
In 2017, BTS partnered with UNICEF to launch the Love Myself campaign which aims to end violence among youth. The following year, the group attended a meeting at the United Nations and RM gave a speech on self-acceptance as part of the Love Myself campaign.
Flash forward a few years, and Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook once again stepped up to bring inspiring messages to youth. This time, the K-pop group addressed those struggling during the pandemic. Individually, each member remarked how the pandemic affected them while giving encouragement to those watching.
“If there’s something I can do, if our voices can give strength to people, then that’s what we want and that’s what we’ll keep on doing,” Jungkook said.
RM concluded BTS’ speech with, “When I start feeling lost… I remember the words I spoke here two years ago. ‘Love yourself, speak yourself.’ Now more than ever, we must try to remember who we are and face who we are. We must try to love ourselves and imagine the future. BTS will be there with you.”
The group’s accomplishments so far
For years, BTS have been making a steady impact on the global music scene despite gatekeepers’ attempts to keep them out. The septet first debuted in 2013, and in 2015 they appeared on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time when their EP The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 peaked at No. 171 on the chart.
In 2020, BTS achieved their fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with Map of the Soul: 7. Their albums Love Yourself: Tear, Love Yourself: Answer, and Map of the Soul: Persona also reached No. 1 on the chart.
They have had 12 songs appear on the Billboard Hot 100, and their new single “Dynamite” debuted at No. 1, making BTS the first all-South Korean group to hit No. 1 on the chart. Of the 43 songs in history to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100, “Dynamite” is the 20th song to remain at No. 1 the following week.
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BTS became members of the Recording Academy in 2019, hold multiple Guinness World Records, have four Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards, and six MTV Video Music Awards. At the 2020 MTV VMAs, they became the first Asian act ever to win the Best Pop award. In the United Kingdom, they are the first Korean group to ever receive music certifications.
BTS have proved their importance
Despite these accomplishments showing how BTS have pushed through western gatekeepers, the group still faces xenophobia and microaggressions outside of South Korea. After their UN speech, a journalist referred to BTS as “a little Korean boy band that’s fundamentally not important” on Twitter.
When faced with adversity in the past, the members of BTS have reacted by climbing higher. On a macro-level, BTS have already shown their importance. They broke into the global music industry, repeated their success, and are sought after to speak about global issues. Refusing to acknowledge that does not make the band any less important, and it does not make the dismissive statements true.
However, if one takes those awards, speeches, and chart rankings away, the members of BTS are still important on a micro-level. Why? Because of how they have touched fans.
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On Dec. 10, 2017, for the conclusion of BTS’ The Wings Tour, RM told the audience, “If we helped your dream and your life a bit by our existence, our music, our performance, our pictures or videos, even if it’s not big, if we could reduce your pain from 100 to 99, 98 or 97, that makes our existence worthy.”
If BTS had only changed one fan’s life, they would still be important to that fan. Since debuting, they have reached the hearts of millions of people around the world, and that alone is enough to prove their importance.
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