On Tuesday, May 31, BTS made history when they were invited to speak with the United States president and vice president regarding anti-Asian hate crimes, discrimination, and the importance of Asian representation and inclusion.
Their visit filled many people with pride, especially when they chose to speak in Korean during their press conference before the meeting with the president. Korean reporter Kim Pil Gyu, a JTBC’s correspondent in Washington D.C., was present during the press conference and elaborated on how meaningful BTS’s decision to speak in Korean was to him.
"Ever since I came to Washington 2 years ago, there were hardly ever instances where I heard a language other than English being spoken at the White House briefing room.
I've always had to stay tense looking out for each and every sensitive word that comes from the podium. But +
— 🎼 yuri⁷ | JUNE 10 (@seoulocello) June 1, 2022
Moments of representation like that were part of the exact reason BTS was invited to speak at the White House.
A few public figures and politicians tried to downplay BTS’s invitation to the White House to speak on such matters. In a video uploaded to the White House’s official YouTube channel today, the BTS members explain why they were more than qualified to do so.
Suga began, “As South Korean artists and someone who witnessed transcending barriers such as languages and cultures while traveling abroad, or saw (our music) reaching many people worldwide on a tour, we wanted to talk about the power of diversity.“
He continued by saying that just how their music brought people together, regardless of their differences, he hopes that the positive trend can continue.
The United State’s Vice President Kamala Harris admired the impact that they have. “When we see hate and prejudice, it’s meant to make people afraid, and it’s meant to make people feel alone. And therefore without power.” She continued, “When you all speak about it, you speak to people in a way that reminds them they’re not alone.”
RM agreed; he said the group wants to return all of the love they’ve received and use their voice to leave a positive impact. He said that they have respect for and feel the weight of the responsibility of that task.
He shared that when BTS first heard President Joe Biden invited them to speak at the White House, they knew they had to go. BTS even reportedly paid for the trip’s expenses themselves because of how passionate they were about the importance of their message and visit.
President Joe Biden recounted what started his political journey saying, “I got involved in public life because of civil rights.” He gave some insight into his decision to invite BTS to the White House, “Even back then, famous artists helped move people. What you’re doing makes a big difference.“
President Biden applauded the talents and message of the group, and BTS made it known how monumental the visit was for them.
To see more of their time at the White House, check out the new video below!