K-pop stars BTS speak at the United Nations about vaccines and sustainability

  • The group accompanied South Korean President Moon Jae-in to help promote the UN’s goals for 2030, including ending extreme poverty and gender equality
  • BTS also unveiled their new music video for ‘Permission to Dance,” which showed them singing and dancing at the organisation’s headquarters in New York
Associated Press |

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BTS speaks at the United Nations meeting on Sustainable Development Goals during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly. Photo: AP

It was a United Nations speech that got attention like few others - a plug for vaccines, young people and the Earth’s well being from K-pop band BTS.

Addressing the stage for a sustainability event, the seven-member supergroup appeared before the renowned green-marbled backdrop in the General Assembly hall on Monday to help promote the UN’s goals for 2030, including ending extreme poverty, preserving the planet and achieving gender equality.

“Every choice we make is the beginning of change, not the end,” said RM, the band’s leader.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in introduced the pop stars as special presidential envoys and an “exceptionally outstanding group of young men who are connecting with youth across the world.”

The gravity of the moment wasn’t lost on the musicians standing before world leaders and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Nerves were evident when band member Jimin stumbled over his words while talking about young people trying to navigate the pandemic. Jimin apologised before taking a breath to recollect himself. It was a moment that prompted the “BTS ARMY” of fans to rally behind him in a show of support on social media. The artists took turns on stage during their seven-minute speech.

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But it wasn’t all about UN goals. The group also unveiled a new music video for its hit single Permission to Dance, which was filmed at the UN Headquarters in New York. The singers crooned, “don’t need to talk the talk, just walk the walk,” while dancing their way from the General Assembly hall to the garden overlooking the East River.

Monday’s speech marked the group’s second appearance at the UN. The band took part in an event in 2018, when RM spoke about its work with Unicef.

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