Why Supporting Kpop Group BTS is the Right Thing to Do

 

Long ago on a chilly autumn day, after watching the seven-member boy band BTS have a segment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, I had the overwhelming feeling to write everything that I was thinking. It was the moment that I saw a Korean-speaking musical act go on the most popular American late night show that my mind started putting pieces together like a puzzle, watching two seemingly different worlds (K-Pop and everyday American TV) meld into one. I opened my journal and started it with “Why BTS is so important”, and with this thesis I made an in depth list of five things. Here is the edited down version of my argument, and by the end of it I hope you give them a listen.

 

Language & Culture

My friend brought this to my attention when we were watching The Tonight Show. My friend looked at me and said, “They really are on The Tonight Show, and they can’t speak the language.” Who does that? To be big enough to be booked on an English-speaking talk show when only one of them can speak English, that is special. Not only The Tonight Show had them on-- SNL, Ellen and James Corden (the latter two had them twice) did too. Not only do they give them so much airtime, but they manage to find seven chairs to pack together and fit them into frame. The impact! BTS is also opening a whole world up to a (non-western) culture. According to the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, Korean is said to be the hardest language for English speakers to learn. Yet, they are inspiring so many people to learn their songs and understand them when they do interviews. It makes someone like me whose vacation daydreams were centered around places in Europe now expand my horizons. I want to know more about Korean traditions and tv shows outside of what BTS is involved in.

 

Sexy, but Make it “Masculine”

Asian men and Black women are the “least desirable” races on dating sites/apps. In American culture, femininity should be all but completely drained from male presenting people to be sexy. Not only do BTS have sex appeal, but they put a twist on what sexy means for men-- skirts, platform shoes, smokey eyes, pearl necklaces, $10K dangly earrings, body harnesses, and elbow length leather gloves just to start with. We are past gendering articles of clothing. If something is sexy it just is, regardless of which section of the store it’s in.

 

Loving Yourself is the New Black

BTS just wrapped their Love Yourself album trilogy, a musical journey of not knowing who they are and how to love the bodies that they are living in. Before and during the release of these three albums, BTS have been very open about their struggles with loving themselves and coming to terms with being deserving of the fame and fortune they have earned. As they guide us through their self love path, they remind us to not forget about loving ourselves as well. All of these self love messages emit “We are normal people” undertones. For me, that’s Earth-quaking! There are not many artists who consistently remind their fans to try and love themselves while also making it clear that they too are on the same page that we are all on.

 

Diversity Wave of Today

Lately, having people of color with more representation in Hollywood has been a big thing. Think about On My Block, Black Panther, Black-ish, Grownish, Fresh Off the Boat, and Crazy Rich Asians to name a few. People of color are finally getting slivers of what they deserve-- more than a supporting role behind another perspective of a White story. BTS’ rise to fame, in the Westerner’s eyes, comes just in time to catch the wave.

 

Thoughtful Spokespeople for the Youth

Finally, BTS are people who are aware and acknowledge sensitive topics while being the most popular boy band in the world right now. I have to stan. From speaking at the UN Conference about being young and making mistakes to changing the lyrics in their song during an American performance because certain Korean words sound too close to the N-Word… They really are just great. That’s all.

 

Their new album, Map of the Soul: Persona, comes out on all music platforms Friday, April 12. Watch out for it.