BTS made history on Monday (Sept. 24) by becoming the first-ever K-pop group to address the United Nations for UNICEF’s “Generation Unlimited” launch. The globally-revered South Korean boyband had previously launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF to advocate against youth violence. The new “Generation Unlimited” UN campaign is aimed at alleviating "the global education and training crisis currently holding back millions of young people and threatening progress and stability."
Per a UN statement on the groundbreaking youth-focused event, there are more than 1.8 billion young people in living in the world today between the ages of 10 and 24. Of this population, “more than one fifth of young people are not in employment, education or training” and perhaps more startling, “at least one in four is affected by violence or armed conflict in some way.”
BTS leader Kim Namjoon (aka RM), served as spokesperson for the group. He delivered a three-minute speech at the initiative’s launch ceremony during 73rd session of the UN General assembly in New York, New York. Washington Post captured the speech in the video embedded above. The K-pop superstar detailed his own personal struggles, as he came to an age where he started to worry about what other people thought of him. He started listening to the voices of others, instead of listening to his own voice. That’s when he says his “heart stopped.”
Namjoon admitted though he is considered an “idol” and an “artist,” he’s “still an ordinary 24-year-old guy” with faults and fears who still makes mistakes. But, he embraces himself for who he is. He spoke of BTS launching the Love Yourself campaign and how they have heard stories that its central message helped fans all over the world overcome hardships and learn to love themselves.
The “Idol” singer eventually issued a call to action saying, “So, lets take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves. So now I urge you to speak yourself … Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice. I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, or gender identity: speak yourself.
Members of the BTS ARMY were bowled over by his speech and some even printed it out, framed it and shared a photo of it on Twitter (see one fan post below).
Other members of distinction at the UN meeting include UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, CNN reports.
The seven-piece boy band arguably carry a lot of influence with millions of fans across the globe. They recently set a Guinness World Record for the most Twitter engagements and made history on several music-related fronts. Their “Idol” music video set a record for the biggest 24-hour YouTube debut. They are the first K-pop band to ever have two Billboard 200 No. 1 albums in less than 12 months and the first K-pop group to have a UK Top 40 single with “Idol.”