BTS’ jaw-dropping list of accolades continues to grow as the South Korean boy band adds a new high distinction to the history books. Time magazine, in partnership with Rolex, has picked BTS to grace the cover (see the mag's Twitter post of it below) and join the ranks of its recently-released 2018 Next Generation Leaders list. Like many of their other recent endeavors, the globally-revered boy band is the first K-pop in history to earn a place on the list.
Anyone who might not have heard about how BTS is seemingly taking over the world (at least in music), might understand their pop culture prowess a little better by recounting some of their recent feats.
For example, their latest album, Love Yourself: Answer, debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart in the U.S., which gave the boys a rare chart-topping double – as their previous album, Love Yourself: Tear, also debuted atop the chart less than 12 months before. Their video for the album’s lead single “Idol” smashed YouTube records and earned a Guinness World Record. They drove fans into a frenzy performing “Idol” and another track on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – which calls to mind Beatlemania –and fans going wild at The Beatles’ American TV debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
Time talked to them about their newest honor while warming up for the last of a four-night sold out run of live shows at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. A key part of their conversation was discussing how BTS has managed to connect with fans (who call themselves ARMY) all over the world and become the first K-pop group to sell out American stadiums, when most of their songs are sung in Korean. RM, in fact, is the only BTS member who speaks fluent English.
Suga talked about making that connection via a translator saying, “We started to tell the stories that people wanted to hear and were ready to hear, stories that other people could not or would not tell,” Suga says. “We said what other people were feeling—like pain, anxieties and worries.”
RM spoke to the “love yourself” theme in the band’s album trilogy saying, “Life has many unpredictable issues, problems, dilemmas,” says RM. “But I think the most important thing to live well is to be yourself. We’re still trying to be us.”
Perhaps more impressive, though, is RM, Suga, J-Hope, Jin, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook’s desire to use their celebrity platform to effect positive change. As the group’s leader, RM led BTS through another historic milestone, when he spoke on behalf of BTS while becoming the first Korean group to address the United Nations for UNICEF’s “Generation Unlimited” campaign. In closing remarks, RM encouraged youth everywhere to let their voices be heard and to “speak yourself.”
Beyond their good looks, stunning choreography and charismatic personalities is the fact that music is universal and perhaps more than any foreign music group in recent times, BTS has proven music breaks down language barriers. “Even if there is a language barrier, once the music starts, people react pretty much the same wherever we go,” Suga explained, “It feels like the music really brings us together.”
BTS joins The Weeknd as another recording artist who made Time’s Next Generation Leaders list. American teen actress Amandla Stenberg who stars in the police brutality-focused film “The Hate U Give” is also on the list, along with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who is a 19-year-old British cellist who is the first black musician to win BBC’s Musician of the Year Award – and he also played the cello at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, among other accolades. See the full list here.
Stay tuned to AXS for BTS updates.