BTS is one of the biggest musical acts in the world at the moment. The group is from South Korea and made up of all Asian members. This is a rarity in Western countries like the United States, and BTS admits they feel “great responsibility” in the fight against anti-Asian racism.
BTS has faced hurdles trying to become popular outside of South Korea
BTS became a huge hit in South Korea in 2015, and the group has been expanding their reaches to other countries.
In recent years, BTS has made great strides in captivating music audiences in the United States. However, BTS still faces many hurdles in being taken seriously due to their ethnic background. The members talked about this in a letter earlier this year addressing anti-Asian sentiments due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” BTS wrote. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
Many BTS fans have also witnessed these experiences. For example, there have been countless instances in which radio and TV hosts in Western countries blatantly made racist comments against BTS.
BTS members feel ‘great responsibility’ in helping to combat anti-Asian sentiments
The members of BTS are some of the most high-profile Asian celebrities around. During a recent press conference for their “Permission to Dance On Stage” concert tour in Los Angeles, BTS was asked, “How do you feel about the positive role that you have taken to help Asian-hate and show a positive life to Asians and Asian Americans?”
In response, leader RM expressed the group’s feeling of “great responsibility” in combatting anti-Asian sentiments.
“We have a great responsibility in regards to the Asian-hate issue,” RM said. “We ourselves have experienced many barriers that are difficult to describe in words. It would be a great honor if our music and performances and various awards gave strength to the Asians living away from their home countries.”
He continued, “Going forward, we will continue to raise our voices against Asian-hate. If there‘s something we can do to help, we are always open and will try to expand our value and stop discrimination.”
BTS supports other anti-racism efforts
In addition to supporting anti-racism efforts for people of Asian backgrounds, BTS also stands against racism toward other groups as well.
For example, in 2020, the group donated $1 million to #BlackLivesMatter. The group also wrote on Twitter, “We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
This has led some folks to accuse BTS of being political, but the members clarified that this was not a political statement.
“I don’t consider ourselves as political,” Suga said in an interview with Variety. He also added, “I think it’s very simple really. It’s about us being against racism and violence. Most people would be against these things. We have experienced prejudice as well ourselves. We just want to voice the fact that we feel it’s the right of everyone to not be subject to racism or violence.”
Meanwhile, J-Hope explained, “We always want to do what we can to make it a better world, whether in Korea or elsewhere, and go in as much of a positive direction as we can, whether through our music or charity.”
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