Ending Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month with a purpose is South Korean boy band BTS as they paid the White House a visit last May 31 and shared a message of equality and diversity.
Looking dapper in black suits and ties, band members Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook were accompanied by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as they talk to the media.
“It’s not wrong to be different,” said Suga through an interpreter.
“Equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences… everyone has their own history,” V added. “We hope today is one step forward to understanding and respecting each and everyone as a valuable person.”
In the US, May is observed as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, recognizing the history and the contributions of Americans hailed from the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. In the past years, Asian Americans have been a target of hate crimes in different nations. According to data published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, “anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent last year compared to the year before” in different cities in the US.
Since their group’s establishment in 2013, BTS, also known as The Bangtan Boys, has produced music that helped them garner fans from all over the globe. Its musical works have been recognized by international award-giving bodies, which include the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and the Grammy Awards.
The band has also put its influence to better use. In the past, it has supported the #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate movements by tweeting a message that said, “We stand against racial discrimination… We condemn violence. You, and I and we have the right to be respected. We will stand together.”
Apart from talking to the press, BTS also had a talk with President Joe Biden about “combating the rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans,” per AP News.
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