Music with a message
For the South Korean boyband BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts), it was their second time addressing the world at the 75th United Nations General Assembly. The septet is known for their empowering music, impactful performances, and relatable personalities. Apart from BTS, several global leaders participated in the virtual meeting held on September 23, 2020.
They spoke about how they reacted to the lockdown, their music, and how it is important to stay strong during such unprecedented times. The eldest member of the group, Kim Seokjin, said that “thinking about the future and trying hard are all important. But cherishing yourself, encouraging yourself, and keeping yourself happy is the most important.” In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, we must cherish the importance of ‘me’, ‘you’, and ‘us’", he added, while emphasizing the message of their 2017 Love Myself campaign in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Spreading positivity and strength
They spoke about how the pandemic changed their lives - from performing at stadiums packed with their fans to their “world being shrunk to a room.” The group resorted to music to comfort each other and their fans across the world. Kim Taehyung, a member of BTS shared how he felt depressed and frustrated but used the time to write songs and introspect. They also expressed how important it is for them to tell stories through their music.
While addressing uncertain times, Kim Namjoon, leader of BTS, said: “Our tomorrow may be dark, painful, difficult. We might stumble or fall down but the stars shine the brightest when the night is darkest." "Let’s reimagine our world. Let’s dream about a future when our worlds can break out of our small rooms again."
Reacting to their speech, Madhumita Bhaskar, an ardent fan of BTS, said that “the pandemic has put our youngsters' minds into a dilemma about their goals. The only ray of hope I receive every day is BTS.”
Why is this important?
In 2017, BTS joined hands with UNICEF to end violence in and around schools. In 2019, the group released a short video of fictional stories of children bearing the brunt of bullying, violence, and fear in their schools with the vocals of their single Love Myself in the background. UNICEF reported that the Love Myself campaign raised above $2 million to help UNICEF end violence in schools.
“The 'Love Yourself' campaign has helped millions of people all over the world to know and embrace themselves, including me. You start implying it in every hard situation you come across and help yourself to overcome it. That's how BTS influenced me and I'm thankful for them. Their influence on people is as massive as their fanbase and using it to spread positive messages is meritorious,” said Ramachandran K, a fan of BTS.
“In these times, when we feel more alone than ever, they make me feel like I can achieve whatever I work hard for. Their beautiful music inspires me to do better and not give up and love myself. To see them give UN speeches and influence youngsters all over the world is awesome,” said Tanwi Chatterjee, also a fan of BTS. “Love them or hate them, you can't really ignore them,” she added.