By BTS Kiwi Army
“Do you know BTS?”
This is a question popularised by Kim Seokjin (stage name: Jin), one of the vocalists of the South Korean band BTS. The famous line is known to be commonly asked to people they meet in their annual travel reality show called ‘Bon Voyage,’ where the group travels to different parts of the world. The latest and fourth season of Bon Voyage was filmed in New Zealand during early spring of 2019 and was mentioned as the favourite destination by some members.
Jin, together with Kim Namjoon (stage name: RM), Min Yoongi (stage name: Suga), Jung Hoseok (stage name: J-Hope), Kim Taehyung (stage name: V), Park Jimin (stage name: Jimin), and Jeon Jungkook (stage name: Jungkook), complete the popular septet group called BTS. Abbreviated from Bangtan Sonyeondan in Korean, which literally translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts, BTS is known as the biggest group in the music industry today.
It has been 2 years since BTS visited New Zealand, and the growing following of their fans called “BTS ARMY” has expanded since then in the country. Their very first English language single, “Dynamite,” was released last year and remains to be the longest charting single by a Korean act on the Official New Zealand Singles Chart. Nevertheless, this was not the first time BTS topped New Zealand music charts as their last three albums had all reached #1 in the Official New Zealand Albums Chart in a span of 18 months.
How BTS inspires their fans
ARMY’s adoration for BTS is not limited to their incredible music and breathtaking stage performances. An answer you will often hear from ARMY when asked regarding what they love about the band is that BTS inspires them in various ways. BTS has long promoted the idea of self-love to their listeners, with “love yourself” and “speak yourself” as the main messages in their campaign after partnering with UNICEF in 2017. This was later followed by the release of their album Love Yourself: Her in the same year, which was the very first of the Love Yourself album series. Songs from these albums talked about various topics such as mental health, societal issues and of course, the message of self-love. Since then, the BTS LOVE MYSELF Campaign has raised US$3.6 million globally for UNICEF to end violence against children and young people. Furthermore, the campaign also encouraged youths all over the world to open up and share their own experiences concerning these topics.
BTS has been invited to speak at the United Nations three times over the last four years. The leader of the group, RM, talked about empowering young people and encouraging them to find their voice and speak up in his speech back in 2018. In 2020, all members of the band delivered heartfelt messages about living on during the COVID-19 pandemic. For their most recent appearance in the UN, they went to New York last month for the United Nations General Assembly, bearing the title of ‘Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture,’ which the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, appointed. In the assembly, they delivered powerful messages of finding hope in the pandemic and “welcoming change,” alongside supporting actions for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“We thought the world has stopped, but it continues to move forward. Every choice we make is the beginning of change.”
BTS, United Nations General Assembly, 2021
How BTS Influences Their Fans
Despite the language barrier for most, the personal connection BTS has built with their fans is awe-inspiring. BTS members are known to be active supporters of different charity organisations for kids and education. With their values in mind, BTS ARMY in different parts of the world were influenced to initiate various charity projects for many causes such as education, animal welfare, mental health support, hunger, and poverty. From these projects, many incredible things became possible, such as schools and libraries getting built. Moreover, last year, BTS donated one million US dollars for the Black Lives Matter movement, which the ARMY matched in just a day after catching news about it.
With this in mind, we, the BTS Kiwi ARMY fanbase, have decided to choose First Foundation NZ as the organisation we will support for the month of October. This is done to celebrate one of the BTS members’ birthday, Park Jimin, who is known for donating to different schools and supporting educational organisations over the years. We also share First Foundation’s belief that socio-economic status shouldn’t stop young people from achieving their dreams. First Foundation helps supports talented Kiwis from challenging backgrounds to attend university and launch their careers. This work relies on donations to help remove barriers and provide the opportunities many of us take for granted.