South Korean band BTS performs for the 2020 American Music Awards
South Korean band BTS. Image Credit: AFP

South Korean pop superstars BTS will visit the White House on May 31 and meet US President Joe Biden to discuss anti-Asian hate crimes and celebrate AANHPI (Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month, according to a statement on May 26.

The statement added that the “K-pop phenomemon and Grammy-nominated musical group” will also talk about “Asian inclusion and representation”.

“President Biden has previously spoken about his commitment to combating the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes and signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May 2021 to provide law enforcement with resources to identify, investigate, and report hate crimes and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to AA and NHPI communities,” the White House added. “President Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world.”

In March 2021, the septet made a statement about anti-Asian hate amid a spate of violence in the US.

“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,” read the note at the time, posted in English and Korean.

“We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason. Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem,” they added.

“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected,” they wrote. “We will stand together.”

BTS has experienced a meteoric rise in fame around the world since their debut in June 2013. The group, make up of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, are due to release their first anthology album ‘Proof’ on June 10.