More than 1 million people tuned to watch BTS members give a speech at the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Monday (September 20). The U.N. General Assembly meeting is typically attended by policymakers and politicians but garnered huge attention due to the K-pop group's presence.
The seven-member boy band appeared in subdued dark suits and talked about rallying young people to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, BTS spoke before a largely empty General Assembly call, with delegates in the front rows listening in silence while occasionally snapping a picture by phone.
The pop stars also played a pre-recorded video of their track Permission to Dance, which was shot in the General Assembly hall and on the world body's lawn facing the East River. Take a look:
The seven members - Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook - talked about their views about their future paths were being shaped by the pandemic. "There were times during the past two years when I too felt bewildered and troubled but still we hear people cry out, 'let's live on, let's make the best of this moment,'" singer Jin said as he talked about responses from their young fans.
"We can't stand still in taking on new challenges when we're in the ideal time of our lives," he added.
Meanwhile, RM said, "I've heard that people in their teens and 20s today are being referred to as covid's lost generation. I think it's a stretch to say they're lost, just because the path they tread can't be seen by grown-up eyes."
The group also enthusiastically endorsed vaccines. "Yes, all seven of us, of course, we've received vaccinations. The vaccine was a sort of ticket to meeting our fans waiting for us and to being able to stand here before you today," J-Hope said while addressing the assembly and fans.
BTS was introduced by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, by calling them "the artist that is most loved by the people around the world." This also marked the band's first appearance in their new formal diplomatic role as "special presidential envoy for future generations and culture," a designation by the South Korean President.