BTS just hit yet another significant career milestone. The seven members of the massively successful K-pop group — Jin, Jimin, J-Hope, Jungkook, RM, Suga, and V — visited the White House on May 31 to discuss inclusion, representation, and rising anti-Asian hate crimes in the nation. The band joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a press briefing before attending a closed meeting with President Joe Biden.
"It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity," RM said during the briefing. "We thank President Biden and the White House for giving this important opportunity to speak about the important causes [and] remind ourselves of what we can do as artists."
Jungkook continued, "We still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers. We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things." Meanwhile, V added, "We hope today is one step forward to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person."
The visit comes one year after Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act addressing increased violence against Asian Americans largely sparked by disinformation about the pandemic. "President Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS's platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world," the White House previously stated in a press release.
This isn't the group's first political endeavor: BTS appeared at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City last year to deliver remarks on how the pandemic and climate change affect young people. They also performed "Permission to Dance" in a video filmed at the headquarters. Prior to that, they attended the General Assembly in 2018 for the launch of the Generation Unlimited initiative.
Their meeting comes weeks after Selena Gomez hosted the first Mental Health Youth Action Forum, held at the White House, which brought together First Lady Jill Biden, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and various other leaders in government and mental health advocacy. "Bringing attention to mental health through media or just talking about your own journeys can help," Gomez said at the event. "It sets the example that it's a topic that can and should be discussed freely and without shame."