BTS Visit White House to Discuss Asian Inclusion and Representation as They Call Music a 'Unifier'

BTS also spoke with President Biden in a 35-minute meeting

President Joe Biden records a digital address with the singing group BTS Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in the Oval Office of the White House.
BTS and President Joe Biden. Photo: The White House

BTS are using their global influence for good.

The South Korean pop superstars made an official visit to the White House on Tuesday, and met with President Biden for more than half an hour to discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, as well as Asian inclusion and diversity.

Jungkook, V, Jimin, Suga, Jin, RM and J-Hope spoke with Biden in the Oval Office for 35 minutes, and thanked him for signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law.

"We just want to be a little help and we truly appreciate the White House and government's [efforts] trying to find solutions," the group told him.

Biden, who gave the "Butter" singers commemorative coins as gifts, emphasized a need for open discussion on important issues.

"Hate only hides. When good people talk about it and say how bad it is, it goes down," he said. "People care a lot about what you say, and what you are doing is good for all people. It's not just your talent. It's the message you are communicating. It matters."

BTS visits the White House and President Biden

BTS was introduced earlier in the day by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the final day of AANHPI Heritage Month, and each took turns reading from a prepared statement.

Jean-Pierre called the Grammy nominees, who wore matching black suits for the occasion, "youth ambassadors promoting a message of respect and positivity," and said they would sit down with Biden in a meeting closed to the press after the briefing.

RM spoke first and introduced the group in English, calling their invitation to Washington, D.C. a "great honor."

Then, his bandmates each took the podium separately to read in Korean part of a statement that was then read in English by a translator.

"We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian-American hate crimes. To put a stop on this and support the cause, we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again," the statement read. "We are here today thanks to our Army, our fans worldwide, who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful."

BTS said that they "still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artist reaches so many people around the world," but believe it to be an opportunity to bridge gaps.

Members of the South Korean pop group BTS speak at the daily press briefing at the White House on May 31, 2022 in Washington, DC. BTS met with U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss Asian inclusion and representation, and to discuss the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
BTS. Kevin Dietsch/Getty

"We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things. It's not wrong to be different. We think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences," they said. "Everyone has their own history. We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person."

RM concluded the statement in English by thanking Biden and the White House "for giving us this important opportunity to speak about the important causes and remind ourselves of what we can do as artists."

Members of the K-pop supergroup BTS, from left, V, Jungkook, Jimin, RM, Jin, J-Hope, Suga, join White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
BTS. Susan Walsh/AP Photo

Their moment in the spotlight was followed by National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who joked, "So I get to go home and tell my kids BTS opened for me," Deadline reported.

The stars' visit is not the first time the White House has welcomed musicians to discuss current events; Selena Gomez stopped by earlier this month for a discussion on mental health, while Olivia Rodrigo visited in July to encourage Americans to get their COVID vaccines.

BTS is currently gearing up for the release of their new anthology album Proof, which will drop on June 10.

RELATED VIDEO: BTS Teases a 'Never-Before-Seen' Performance During The Grammys: 'It's Going to Be Epic'

Marking a celebration of their nine-year anniversary as a band, Proof will feature three brand-new songs including "Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)" amid a career-spanning collection of tracks.

Proof will mark BTS' first record since their 2020 LP Be. They previously dropped a compilation album, BTS, the Best, in June 2021 and an EP, Butter (Hotter, Sweeter, Cooler), that same month.

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