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BTS-mania overwhelms the White House when a boy band talks about hating Asia | Biden administration

They fought the heat, pressed their faces to the fence, hugged cameras in the hope that they would see their idols.

Dozens of young fans at the gates of the White House resembled a pop concert on Tuesday – but the worship did not extend to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, whose endorsements are on the slide. BTS’s Korean pop sensations were here to give sleepy Washington an adrenaline rush, discuss Asia inclusion and representation, and tackle hate crimes against Asians.

“I would like to thank you for helping me love myself a little more,” said Damaris Monroy Hernandez, a student on her 16th birthday hoping to meet a K-pop group. “I’m just happy that they came here because I like the fact that they are spreading awareness about Asian hatred that is taking place in the world. They are amazing people. “

While Hernandez was speaking, someone in the crowd said, “One, two, three… stop hating Asians! Stop the Asian Hate! ” and others joined in singing.

BTS-mania was also visible in the White House press briefing room, where journalists from South Korea and Japan stood in the aisles. The room hasn’t been that full since the reality TV star became president.

The group drew a crowd for the briefing. Photo: Oliver Contreras / EPA

“Oh wow!” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “So much excitement.” She joked, “I know – this is a Fed chairman meeting, right?”

Seven members of BTS – who are named J-Hope, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin, RM and Jimin – lined up behind her, dressed uniformly in dark suits, white shirts, and black ties, reminiscent of the Men in Black and Dog Tank movies. Everyone gave short speeches, mostly in Korean, supported by an interpreter.

Jimin said: “We were devastated by the recent increase in hate crime, including hate crime, in Asian America. To put an end to this and to support the cause, we would like to take this opportunity again to express ourselves. ”

Suga added: “It’s not wrong to be different. I think equality begins when we open up and embrace all our differences. “

AV noted: “Everyone has a story. We hope today is one step closer to respecting and understanding everyone as a person of value. “

Since its debut in 2013, BTS has become famous for their texts and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people. The Grammy nominated boy band thanked its fans known as “the army” for their continued support and praised their diversity.

Members of the public are peering through the fence of the White House as they await the arrival of BTS.
Members of the public are peering through the fence of the White House as they await the arrival of BTS. Photo: Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
people are standing near the fence
Fans are standing along Pennsylvania Avenue. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

J-Hope said: “We are here again thanks to our army, our fans around the world who have different nationalities and cultures and speak different languages. We are sincerely and always grateful. “

Jungkook added: “We are still surprised that music created by South Korean artists is reaching so many people around the world, crossing language and cultural barriers. We believe that music is always the amazing and wonderful unifier of all things. “

The group left without asking questions and took a short walk to the Oval Office on the last day of Asian American, Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Then on the rostrum in the briefing room there was … Brian Deesedirector of the National Economic Council, a technocrat who cannot be called one of Washington’s more colorful and extravagant figures.

He tucked the pen into his breast pocket, raised his eyebrows, and smiled wryly as the international media contingent fled the alleys and some reporters laughed at the harrowing gearshift.

Deese said, “Okay, so I’m coming home and telling my kids that BTS opened up for me. I wasn’t expecting this when I woke up this morning and I know you are all here to talk about trimmed average inflation and you are just as excited about it as you are for them.

It turned out that the average trimmed inflation did not accelerate the pulse. Later, Jean-Pierre was asked if BTS were shooting a music video in the White House. She neither confirmed nor denied it.

Jean-Pierre is speaking on the podium, followed by the members of the group
Karine Jean-Pierre welcomes the group. Photo: Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

“You have heard from them directly how important it was for them to use their platform to talk about issues that are important to them, in particular the hatred of Asia that we have seen in this country in the last few years,” said the press secretary.

Crimes against Asian Americans increased by more than 300% last year, according to the Center for Research on Hatred and Extremism, as Donald Trump continues to urge Americans to blame China for the Covid-19 pandemic. Biden signed a bipartisan bill last year to tackle the rise in hate crimes against Asia.

BTS’s visit was one of Biden’s more unusual days since taking office. Before that, he met New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, a stand-alone political rock star; I had lunch with Harris; and met with chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Jerome Powell, along with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

History will judge whether the 79-year-old’s next encounter with BTS will create a picture as memorable as Richard Nixon’s encounter with Elvis Presley in 1970.

This article was revised on June 1, 2022. BTS have been nominated for a Grammy Award twice, but have not won any, as stated in the earlier version.

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