K-pop supergroup BTS to attend White House press briefing

“Global K-pop phenomenon BTS,” a White House official said, “will join press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the helm of today’s briefing.”

“The Grammy-nominated musical group will offer brief remarks,” the official added.

Their meeting with Biden in the Oval Office will be closed to reporters.

The group’s visit comes days after Biden returned from his first trip to Asia as president, which included a three-day stopover in Seoul and meetings with newly elected South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

The group has achieved international success with songs like “Butter” and “Dynamite” and their fan base, who call themselves “The Army”, spans the globe.

Last year, amid a spate of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States, including shootings at three Atlanta-area spas, BTS spoke about their own experiences with discrimination.

“We remember times when we were discriminated against as Asians. We endured swearing for no reason and made fun of our appearance. We were even asked why Asians speak English,” said the group in a statement retweeted more than a million times.

They continued, “We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason.”

The rise in anti-Asian crime and hostility towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 10,000 hateful incidents against AAPI people were reported to the advocacy organization Stop AAPI Hate between March 19, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

Biden, the White House noted in a press release announcing the meeting, “has already spoken about his commitment to addressing the wave of anti-Asian hate crimes.” He signed a bipartisan bill aimed at tackling the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes into law in May 2021. He will create a new Justice Department position to expedite the review of hate crimes and incidents Covid-19 related potentials reported to federal, state or local.

Biden and BTS, the White House added, “will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’s platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity around the world”.

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