South Korean K-pop sensations BTS didn’t sing a word during a White House visit Tuesday to meet President Joe Biden, but the supergroup’s message against anti-Asian racism came loud and clear.
The seven stars, dressed in matching dark suits and ties, with white shirts, joined White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the briefing room podium — a tiny, but powerful stage.
The singer Park Ji-min, better known as Jimin, said through a translator that the group is “devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes” in the United States.
Another member, Suga, appealed for tolerance, saying, “It’s not wrong to be different. I think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
Group members did not take questions from reporters before going into a meeting with Biden and, according to the White House, recording “digital content.”
Outside the mansion’s grounds on the other side of a tall black fence, fans who dub themselves the “Army” gathered in hopes of a glimpse.
The brief appearance before journalists itself reportedly garnered more than 300,000 viewers on the White House’s YouTube channel, more than 10 times the traffic on a day when the only people watching events in the briefing room are mostly media or political professionals.
It was certainly something new for economic policy advisor Brian Deese, who had been scheduled to brief reporters on Biden’s fight against US inflation right after the group left.
“I get to go home and tell my kids that BTS opened for me,” he said to laughter.