BTS at UNGA: ‘We must try to love ourselves and imagine the future’

Bea Cupin

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BTS at UNGA: ‘We must try to love ourselves and imagine the future’
The septet opens up about their own struggles during the coronavirus pandemic at a high-level side event during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly

In a message recorded for an event at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, members of the world’s biggest boy group spoke openly about their own struggles as they encouraged the youth to “live on” and cherish themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. 

BTS was invited to deliver a special message at a high-level side event on Wednesday, September 23, organized by the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security. 

The group, which was initiated by South Korea, is a platform for countries to worth together in responding to health security issues, including the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We must try to love ourselves, and imagine the future. BTS will be there with you,” said group leader Kim Nam-joon or RM after each member spoke about their own experiences in struggling and surviving the pandemic’s toll on one’s mental health.  

He added: “Our tomorrow may be dark, painful, difficult, and we might stumble or fall down, but the stars shine brightest when the night is darkest. If the stars are hidden, we’ll let moonlight guide us. If even the moon is dark, let our faces be the light that helps us find our way. Let’s reimagine our world. We’re huddled together tired, but let’s dream again.”

Here are choice quotes from the septet during the recorded message:

“I looked up but couldn’t see the stars at night,” said RM, after he looked back at the first time BTS spoke before the United Nations. 

Right before BTS’ recorded video was played during the meeting, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore drew particular attention to how pandemic measures – closing down schools, home quarantines, and isolation – have taken their toll on the mental health of children, adolescents, and the youth. 

BTS, in particular, also saw a huge disruption in their 2020 plans. They were supposed to go on another world tour when the pandemic hit. 

“I felt hopeless. Everything fell apart,” said Park Ji-min, whose stage name is Jimin.

“Yesterday, I was dancing and singing with fans all over the world, and now my world had shrunk to a room. And then, my friends took my hand,” Jimin added. 

“Life became simple, maybe for the first time. It was a precious time, unwanted but welcome,” said Min Yoon-gi, who goes by the name Suga. 

“In this world, we had our instruments, our phones, and our fans,” added the rapper. 

Kim Tae-hyung, who goes by the name V, said he felt “lonelier and smaller” during the pandemic.

“I was frustrated and depressed, but I took notes, wrote songs, and thought about who I was. I thought that if I give up here, then I’m not the star of my life,” he said. 

“We embraced all these emotions and the 7 of us began to make music together,” said Jung Ho-seok, or J-Hope. 

“This is where the music came from, and this made us honest,” he added. 

“Thinking about the future and trying hard are all important, but cherishing yourself, encouraging yourself, and keeping yourself happy is the most important,” said Kim Seok-jin, after saying that during the pandemic he “found again” other people he loved, including family and friends. 

This, said Jin, was at the core of “LOVE MYSELF” – a BTS and UNICEF campaign to combat violence against the youth – and their latest single, “Dynamite.”

“Our songs became the stories we wanted to tell each other. We live in uncertainty, but really, nothing’s changed. If there’s something I can do, if our voices can give strength to people, then that’s what we will do and that’s what we’ll keep on doing,” said the group’s maknae, Jeon Jung-kook, or Jungkook. 

BTS fans, affectionately called ARMY, have noticed that the group has made a point of performing inspirational songs, even if they’re from older albums, during live performances to promote their latest single. 

Despite the cancellation of their world tour, BTS’ star has shone brightest during the global pandemic. They released “Stay Gold,” an uplifting Japanese-language single in June, months into the pandemic. 

Months later, in August, they released their first English-language song, “Dynamite.” The single topped the Billboard charts, making the BTS the first all-Korean group to achieve the feat. 

BTS’ relationship with the UNICEF began officially in 2017 for “LOVE MYSELF.” In 2018, BTS spoke before the UN to launch the UNICEF’s “Generation Unlimited” campaign. – Rappler.com 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.