“Oh, my goodness,” joked press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, hustling into a packed White House press briefing room yesterday. “So much excitement. I know—it’s the Fed chair meeting.” Filing in behind her, of course, was the real cause of the hullabaloo: the seven members of K-Pop phenom BTS, the biggest band in the world.
In honor of the last day of the AANHPI Heritage Month, band members J-Hope, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin, RM, and Jimin all took to the mic to speak on the global rise of anti-Asian racism and violence.
“We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes,” Jimin said, per a translator. “To put a stop on this and support the cause, we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
J-Hope, in a nod to their avid fanbase, added, “We are here today thanks to our ARMY—our fans worldwide, who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages. We are truly and always grateful.”
The band wore a flight of matching black suits and ties from the Korean menswear brand Tailorable; later on, the official POTUS Twitter account shared a video of the boys walking in their suits, Reservoir Dogs style, through the Rose Garden to meet President Biden. (While the band are also big-time global brand ambassadors for Louis Vuitton, and often wear Vuitton to big events—they all sported coordinated LV looks to the 2022 Grammys, for example—it makes sense they would rep a Korean brand for this particular briefing.)
Later on during the briefing, a reporter asked if BTS, who had been at the White House for several hours by that point, had been “filming a music video on site or anything like that.” Jean-Pierre carefully neither confirmed nor denied. Taking the torch from the Jonas Brothers, who visited the White House back in December to reenact a popular TikTok sound while advising Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, boy band diplomacy lives on.