"Fly to My Room?" More like: "Fly to Pennsylvania Avenue!"
The arranged meeting saw group members Jin, Suga, RM, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook join the president in a powerful discussion about the importance of Asian representation and inclusion amidst ongoing anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.
"We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes," Jimin said. "To put a stop on this and support the cause, we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again."
J Hope added, "We are here today thanks to our Army -- our fans worldwide -- who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful."
Jungkook shared that the band was "still surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world... we believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things." Suga also added, "It's not wrong to be different, equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences."
Ahead of their visit, the group's management company BIGHIT MUSIC shared in a statement that, as "artists representing South Korea," BTS were "honored" to receive an invitation to the White House, adding, "We look forward to discussing various topics including inclusion, diversity, anti-Asian hate crimes, culture and art."
Throughout the years, BTS -- who attended the United Nations General Assembly last September as former South Korean President Moon Jae-in's "special presidential envoy for future generations and culture" -- has used their platform to denounce racism in all forms. Amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in May 2021, BTS shared their "grief" and "anger" in a moving Twitter statement condemning racist violence.
"We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English," the statement read in part. "We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason."
It continued, "Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem."
In June 2020, the group donated $1 million dollars to the Black Lives Matter movement and tweeted, "We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together. #BlackLivesMatter."
When asked by Variety about their donation -- which was matched by their passionate fanbase, ARMY, in just 24 hours -- eldest member Jin shared, "When we're abroad or in other situations, we've also been subjected to prejudice. We feel that prejudice should not be tolerated; it really has no place."