BTS at the White House Highlights: Press Briefing remarks, BTS Hwaiting & more
On May 31 (local time), BTS visited the White House to speak with US President Joe Biden at the Oval Office, prior to which they spoke at a Press Briefing. Read more.
On May 31 (local time), BTS closed off AANHPI (Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) Heritage Month by visiting the White House and speaking with the President of the United States, Joe Biden, at the Oval Office. Ahead of the meeting, scheduled for May 31, 3 pm ET (June 1, 12.30 am IST), BTS attended a briefing at the White House Press Room, where they spoke to members of the press.
The briefing commenced half an hour prior to BTS’ meeting with the US President, and was broadcast live through the White House’s YouTube channel. Even before it started at 12 am IST on June 1, there was a multitude of viewers tuning in to the livestream for the historic event. During BTS’ remarks, the number of viewers jumped up to over 300,000 simultaneous viewers.
Led by the 35th White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, BTS entered the room in crisp black suits, and stood behind the official podium marked ‘THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON’, in front of the iconic blue-and-white background.
The room was audibly calm and hushed, but upon seeing the group, the reporters present took out their phones to film the historic moment, prompting photographers and camera reporters to urgently appeal with “Phone down, phone down”.
After being introduced by the White House Press Secretary as “pop phenoms” and “Grammy-nominated international icons… [who] play an important role as youth ambassadors promoting a message of respect and positivity,” leader RM began by speaking in English. RM shared, “Thank you, Karine, for your kind words. Hi, we’re BTS, and it is a great honour to be invited to the White House today to discuss the important issues of anti-Asian hate crimes, Asian inclusion, and diversity.”
Jin continued, in Korean, “Today is the last day of AANHPI Heritage Month. We are here today to join the White House to stand together with the AANHPI community and to commemorate the occasion.”
Jimin said, “We were shocked and devastated about the recent surge of hate crimes including Asian-American hate crimes. In the hopes of helping to put a stop to this and to support the cause we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
J-Hope continued, “We're here today thanks to the ARMY, our fans worldwide, who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful.”
Jungkook followed, “We still feel surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending languages and cultural barriers. We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
SUGA said, “It's not wrong to be different. We think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
V added, “Everyone has their own history. We hope today can be one step forward towards respecting and understanding each and everyone as a valuable person.”
RM concluded BTS’ remarks by saying in English, “Lastly, we thank President Biden and the White House for giving us this important opportunity to speak about the important causes, and remind ourselves of what we can do as artists. Once again, thank you very much.”
Although it had previously been stressed that BTS would not be taking any questions, as soon as the septet concluded their remarks, members of the press who were present could not resist asking questions to the group as soon as their remarks ended. Including “When is your world tour coming?,” the White House Press Room erupted in a multitude of questions.
Visibly loosening the tension and bringing laughs and smiles to the room and BTS’ members, one member of the press proclaimed in Korean, “BTS hwaiting”, cheering on the group and thanking them.
Over 100 Reporters:
Reportedly, although the briefing room has 49 seats, split into 7 seats in 7 rows, on this day, there was hardly room to walk as over 100 reporters and members of the foreign media, including from South Korea and Japan, attended.
HYBE’s comments about the remarks:
After BTS spoke, an interpreter present translated BTS’ remarks (RM’s to Korean, and Jin, SUGA, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook’s to English). About this, an official from HYBE reportedly commented, “They are Korean, so they spoke in Korean.” Further, “There was no request from the White House.”
Return to South Korea:
BTS’ youngest member Jungkook had departed for the US on May 28, with the rest of the members following on May 29. It has been reported by South Korean media that the group will be concluding their short trip and returning to South Korea on June 1.
Watch the full live, below: