As a chart-topping, internationally recognized boy band, BTS has been all over the world — but on Tuesday, May 31, they officially made it to the White House. The K-pop group, also known as the Bangtan Boys, traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak at a press briefing in honor of AANHPI (Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander) Heritage Month. The event, which included a brief message about the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States, was live-streamed on YouTube as well as the White House’s website. While BTS always looks sharp, these photos of BTS at the White House are everything.
While the group has never been afraid to show off their style, they showed up to the White House in some sharp matching suits that are giving me some real Men In Black vibes. What was the line? “I make this look good”?
But the simplicity of the look only emphasized that their message was clearly the most important thing. Aside from RM, who is fluent in English, each member of the band shared their statements in Korean, which was later relayed 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,” Jimin said via the translator. J-Hope added, “We are here today thanks to our army — our fans worldwide — who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages.” Considering BTS has continuously used their platform to raise awareness about important social issues, the announcement came as no surprise to fans.
According to the Korea Times, ahead of the briefing, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, and V arrived at the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. on May 30. (Jungkook reportedly went to Los Angeles first before joining the rest of the group in Washington, D.C.) Notably, the trip marked the group’s first time back in the United States since their string of Las Vegas concerts in February as part of their Permission To Dance On Stage mini-tour.
Amid the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes since the onset of the pandemic, the band’s words were a much-needed reminder of the importance of unity. Per a 2021 study from the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY), “anti-Asian hate incidents now primarily directed at East Asians have skyrocketed” since March 2020. “Across the country, there were more than 2,500 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents related to COVID-19 between March and September 2020,” the study highlights.
After the event, the septet sat down with Biden in the Oval Office for a private conversation to discuss the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States. After achieving such wide commercial success, BTS has also come head to head with hateful anti-Asian sentiments. “We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians. We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English,” the band wrote in a March 29, 2021 tweet. “We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason,” they added.
The group’s White House visit comes ahead of the release of their anthology album, Proof, on June 10. The group will also celebrate their nine-year anniversary as a group on June 12. BTS has definitely come a long way, and their White House visit is without a doubt one of their biggest accomplishments to date.