BTS just made history. During their Tuesday (May 31) visit to the White House, the K-Pop boy band sat down with President Joe Biden on the last day of AANHPI Heritage Month to discuss each other’s roles in raising awareness around the recent surge in anti-Asian hate crimes. The visit made them the first Korean artists to talk about the topic with a U.S. president in the Oval Office.
Strolling up the White House lawn with his bandmates — all looking dapper in matching black suits — RM was the first in the video to address Biden, who was waiting for them by the residence’s entrance. “It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. President,” the 27-year-old said, with Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook smiling on either side of him.
Once inside the Oval Office, the president and his Billboard Hot 100-ruling guests dove right into the matter at hand. “A lot of our Asian American friends have been subject to real discrimination,” Biden began. “Hate only hides. When good people talk about it, and say how bad it is, it goes down. So thank you.”
“We want to say thank you, sincerely, for your decision, such as signing the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law,” RM replied on behalf of the group. “So we just want to be a little help and we truly appreciate the White House and the government’s trying to find solutions.”
The 35-minute conversation took place just after BTS delivered remarks in front of about 100 journalists in the White House Press Briefing Room, introduced by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre as “international icons” who “play an important role as youth ambassadors promoting a message of respect and positivity.” Each of the seven members took a turn at the microphone, with Suga at one point saying: “It’s not wrong to be different. Equality begins with opening up and embracing all differences.”
“People care a lot about what you say, and what you’re doing is good for all people,” Biden told the group in their Oval Office meeting after the press conference. “It’s not just your great talent, it’s the message you’re communicating. It matters.”
Though much of the response to BTS’ Washington, D.C., visit has been positive, there have been a couple outliers. Namely, Tucker Carlson, who said that Biden’s administration was “trying to degrade” the United States by welcoming in the K-pop phenomenon. After his comments, ARMY began to bombard Carlson’s account on Twitter.
Meanwhile, more footage of BTS speaking with President Biden is yet to come. “It was great to meet with you, @bts_bighit,” Biden tweeted. “Thanks for all you’re doing to raise awareness around the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination. I look forward to sharing more of our conversation soon.”
Watch President Biden’s new video from his White House meeting with BTS below:
It was great to meet with you, @bts_bighit. Thanks for all you’re doing to raise awareness around the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.
I look forward to sharing more of our conversation soon. pic.twitter.com/LnczTpT2aL
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 1, 2022