|▲ BTS attending the U.N. General Assembly (Source: BTS official Twitter).|
At the opening ceremony of the "Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment," a special event held at the U.N. General Assembly on September 20, BTS spoke on behalf of young people and future generations as a "special presidential envoy for future generations and culture," a designation given by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The SDG is an annual event held by the United Nations to discuss the joint response of the environment, poverty, and hunger that the international society has decided to end by 2030. President Moon said, regarding the background of appointing BTS as a special envoy, "I think there is something special about returning the love received with good influence. Since BTS represents the younger generation and many people relate to them, I hope they can play a role in leading younger generations to participate more actively."
Before attending the U.N. General Assembly, BTS posted a question on their official SNS account, asking, "How have the past two years been for you and what kind of world are you living in now?" Various stories poured out from around the world. BTS used their voice on behalf of future generations, by introducing photos and writings delivered through SNS. They conveyed the thoughts of future generations about the environment and formed a social consensus through the story of a younger generation, trying to live healthier, by meeting friends in a new way, during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they delivered a message of hope to people in their teens and 20s, being referred to as, ‘Covid's Lost Generation’, saying, “Every choice we make is the beginning of change, not the end.” In the story of future generations, BTS emphasized, "The name, 'Welcome Generation,' is more appropriate than, 'Lost Generation,' due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than being afraid of a change, let’s walk forward by saying, 'Welcome.'" They also enthusiastically endorsed vaccines, saying, "It is not long before we can meet face to face. I hope we can say, "Welcome," to each other in this new world." They concluded their speech, appealing, "There are some people who are looking for their path, thinking about the future. Therefore, I hope you don't think too darkly about the future."
The speech, which was streamed live on the official U.N. YouTube account, drew a lot of attention with nearly 1 million simultaneous users. After a roughly seven-minute speech, BTS also released a special video of their hit song, "Permission to Dance." The video showed the members singing and dancing throughout the U.N. General Assembly meeting hall, the U.N. headquarter premises, and the lawn plaza. In particular, after the seven members in black suits moved outdoors in the video, the lively charm of, "Permission to Dance," stood out. In the latter part of the song, numerous dancers also joined and marked the culmination of the 76th U.N. General Assembly with choreography using sign language, which means "joyful," "dance," and "peace." The members said they hoped the song would inspire positivity, inclusivity, and welcomeness. The video exceeded 10 million views, drawing attention from people around the world.
Indeed, fans around the world responded with pride and appreciation for their message and platform. Social media reactions to BTS at the U.N., trended in various countries. The New York Times posted an article on their website, saying, "BTS Took Center Stage at the U.N. Over One Million Fans Watched Live." The Washington Post stated, "A speech by BTS felt like the hottest event on the Internet on Monday," and added, "The seven members shared the experiences of young people and talked about how the perspective on the future is changing due to the COVID-19 pandemic." Billboard, a medium that specializes in music, said, "BTS brought the message of love and community to the global stage. They delivered a message of hope to the younger generation, who is focused on making the world a cleaner and more efficient place." President Moon praised, "The first goal I wanted to achieve with BTS was to raise awareness of the SDG moment event, and we achieved that goal." He added, "Their speech was much more effective than the U.N. Secretary-General or me speaking hundreds of times." In response to the speech, BTS said in an interview, "Based on the answers to questions asked for future generations around the world, we tried to convey their situations to all generations. We're grateful to everyone who gave us the opportunity."
By Park Jung-hyun,cub-reporter email@example.com
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