US President Joe Biden is set to host members of K-pop sensation BTS next week when they are expected to discuss the country’s mounting attacks on Asian communities.
The White House said Mr. Biden will meet the music group Tuesday (May 31) to “discuss Asian inclusion and representation” and to “address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination, which have become increasingly prominent issues in recent years.”
“Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’s platform as youth ambassadors spreading a message of hope and positivity around the world,” the White House said in its statement.
The K-pop band, who have become global superstars since their Seoul debut in 2013, are set to arrive at the White House after performing at the United Nations in New York.
The group’s management, Big Hit Music, said the band was honored to be invited to the White House.
“As visiting artists representing South Korea, we look forward to discussing various topics including inclusion, diversity, hate crimes against Asia, culture and the arts,” said Big Hit Music.
Group leader and rapper Kim Nam-joon, known professionally as RM, shared the decision on the band’s online fan platform, Weverse, saying the meeting was for a “good cause.”
The gathering coincides with the last day of May’s Asian American and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander month in the United States.
The seven-piece band, also known as the Bangtan Boys, won a string of awards for the second straight year in February, including the IFPI Global Recording Artist of the Year crown.
BTS became the most awarded group in Billboard Music Awards history earlier this month. The group, consisting of members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook, has won a trophy at every BBMAs ceremony since 2017. The group also received their first Grammy nomination last year.
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The group has in the past dealt with the problem of rising crimes against Asians and other people of color in the West. Two years ago, the band donated $1 million to the Black Lives Matter Foundation following the killing of George Floyd. The group also partnered with Unicef to launch an anti-violence campaign called Love Myself in 2017.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, a US non-profit organization that tracks incidents of hate and discrimination, a total of 10,905 incidents of hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were reported between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2021.
Earlier this month, a man was charged with shooting dead three Asian women at a Dallas hair salon. Authorities are investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.
Additional reporting by agencies
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/biden-bts-meeting-hate-crimes-b2088651.html Biden and BTS are meeting next week to discuss hate crimes against Asians