BTS Visits White House to Discuss Fighting Rise in Hate Crimes | Capital Mexico

WASHINGTON (AP) — The K-Pop sensation, btsvisited the White House on Tuesday to speak with President Joe Biden about combating the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans, bringing superstar enthusiasm to a sad and scary subject.

Band members J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jimin joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at her briefing with reporters on the last day of the Month of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage. Jimin said that the band had been “devastated by the recent increase” in crime and bigotry against Asian Americans that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic .

“It’s not bad to be different,” Suga said through an interpreter. “Equality begins when we open up and accept all our differences.” V said that “everyone has their own story.”

“We hope that today is a step forward to understand and respect each and every one as valuable people,” added V.

The band members wore black suits and ties and briefly took turns taking the podium. They toured the White House before the briefing and then held a closed-door meeting with the president in the Oval Office. Biden administration officials have spent the past few weeks holding roundtables and other meetings with Asian-American leaders to discuss the violence.

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has garnered worldwide recognition for the members’ self-produced music and activism, including an appearance at the United Nations. The band topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart three times in 2020 and was nominated for notable music awards like the Grammys, the Billboard Music Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards.

The normally packed White House briefing room was even more packed than usual, as journalists available to cover BTS filled the aisles next to the rows of seats assigned to regularly attending media outlets. The live broadcast from the White House, not known for large mid-afternoon audiences, drew more than 230,000 viewers before the event began.

BTS Visits White House To Discuss Fighting Rise In Hate Crimes

After the band members spoke and their comments were translated, the reporters began asking them questions, but Jean-Pierre, who had previously said the members would not take questions, stepped in and said, “We’re leaving.” That prompted the BTS members to say, “Sorry,” as they walked away from the podium.

Following the band was Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, who was there to address reporters after of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell meeting with Biden earlier that day.

“I can go home and tell my kids that BTS opened for me,” Deese joked, adding that he was sure the room was “just as excited” to talk about the impact of inflation on the US economy as they had been. for the band

The scene was funny but the issue that brought the group to the White House was not. The increase in hate crimes and discrimination against Asians since 2020 has included the March 2021 murder of eight people in Atlanta-area massage businesses, including six women of Asian descent.

After those shootings, Asian American organizations in the US organized unity events and took to social media to call for an end to the racist attacks. Within days, BTS tweeted, “We stand against racial discrimination” and included the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate.

“We condemn the violence. You, me and everyone have the right to be respected, ”BTS wrote then. “We’ll be together”.

On Tuesday, the band thanked their fans and Jungkook said, “We are still amazed that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending language and cultural barriers.”

“We believe that music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things,” he added.

Jean-Pierre said BTS hopes to “combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance” that Asian communities have faced. He noted that Biden signed legislation combating COVID-19 hate crimes and issued an executive order reinstating the White House initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, while helping to promote the research to prevent racism against those communities.

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BTS Visits White House to Discuss Fighting Rise in Hate Crimes | Capital Mexico