"There's nothing wrong with being different": The South Korean boy band BTS, which inspires an audience of millions with sophisticated choreographies and catchy songs, uses its influence elsewhere. During a visit to US President Biden, anti-Asian hatred is the topic.
The US government welcomed South Korean boy band BTS to the White House as a sign of opposition to anti-Asian hatred. "It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to speak on the important issues of hate crimes against Asians, Asian integration and diversity," said band member RM at the start of the daily White House press briefing in English.
The other band members also commented briefly. Bandmate Jimin added: "We are dismayed by the recent increase in racist crimes, including racist crimes against Asian people." Numerous fans of the Korean pop sensation crowded the gates of Biden's official residence, but the press room itself was also crowded. "There's nothing wrong with being different. Equality starts when we open up about our differences and own them," said Suga, another member of the seven-strong formation, which has hundreds of millions of fans worldwide.
Biden had invited BTS as part of a series of events designed to celebrate the Asian community in the US and to denounce racism against them. The US President wanted to speak to the world's most influential boy band about the "inclusion and representation" of Asian people, but also about "racist crimes and discrimination against Asians, which have been getting worse in recent years," according to a statement by the White House was called. Their meeting took place away from the press.
Racially motivated crimes against people of Asian descent are common in the United States. In March 2021, a series of deadly attacks in and near the city of Atlanta, Georgia, triggered particular horror. Eight people were shot dead in three massage parlors within a short space of time. The victims were mostly of Asian descent. Even after a crime in May that left three injured at a hair salon in Dallas' Korean Quarter, the police are not ruling out a racist motive.
The communications team of 79-year-old Biden, the oldest ever elected President of the United States, has been trying to reach a young audience since he entered the White House. Before BTS, for example, the singer Olivia Rodrigo and the band Jonas Brothers visited the White House.