BTS: A group and movement of hope

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BTS launching their new humanitarian campaign “#LoveMyself #EndViolence” with UNICEF Korea. Image from Soompi.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, Zandi, introduced me to the world of BTS and its fandom known as the A.R.M.Y. Before being introduced, I was overcritical and I never thought that I would enjoy BTS. However, weeks later, I have fallen in love with this incredible band and I am proud to say that I am an ARMY who will defend, support and promote this band. Not only are BTS members extremely talented, but they also care about others, especially young people around the world, and use their music and activism to achieve a better, hopeful world for everyone.

When I first dived into the world of BTS and being an ARMY, I was immediately blown away and impressed with the members’ vocals and aesthetics. I was shown the Blood Sweat & Tears music video first which was extremely overwhelming because the music video is complete perfection and everything, including the vocals, the raps, the scenes, fit in intrinsically and ingenuously. Once I was aesthetically and musically scarred from the greatness of the video and song, I knew it would be wrong of me if I did not stop learning about BTS and listening to more of their songs. Thus, I continued and after each song, I became more engrossed in the fantastic music and image of BTS. Each member of the band offers something unique and valuable to the overall synergy of the group which makes them so successful and great to listen to, and to fanboy/fangirl/stan, of course.

The music that BTS releases is extremely diverse. It can go from slow, soulful, passionate songs to empowering songs. In fact, many of their songs contain important messages that address many issues that young people face and how to pursue and get through difficult, challenging times. If you listen to songs such as Dope, MIC Drop or BTS Cypher 4, you feel like you can achieve anything you dream despite what haters, critics and bullies may say. Moreover, their live performances of their songs are out of this world and just from watching them online, you feel their energy oozing through computer and mobile screens.

After finishing an entire playlist, I could not keep my excitement and love for this band to myself and I decided to tweet about it, as one does. Consequently, wonderful, supportive individuals began tweeting and engaging with me about BTS. These individuals form a fandom, known as ARMYs. However, I have come to the conclusion that ARMYs do not just form a fandom, rather they form a family that is united under BTS’s values of bringing hope, joy and healing to the world. They are energetic, passionate and loving people who not only support a brilliant band with a brilliant message, but they also care about various societal issues which is exactly what BTS wants young people to do.

Although their music is exceptional and deserves all the success, that is only one layer of the foundation of BTS. When I speak to fellow ARMYs, a common aspect that is spoken about, is the members’ personalities. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook all have their own special traits and qualities which ARMYs love and appreciate so much. What ARMYs love especially about the members, is that they are so real. By saying that, I mean that they show that they are human and they can laugh, cry, have fun and have moments when they need the support and help from others. I could write an essay about their personalities but I would suggest that you discover and figure that out for yourself because I think going on the journey of becoming an ARMY is a joyous and positive one.

In addition to everything amazing and wonderful about BTS, Big Hit Entertainment, the company that BTS is signed with, is collaborating with BTS and UNICEF. Together, they are launching the #LoveMyself #EndViolence campaign. The #EndViolence campaign is a global campaign to raise awareness about violence against children, and raise money and launch initiatives to prevent further violent atrocities against young people. This campaign should be supported by everyone, regardless of BTS’s involvement or not. What is admirable about BTS and BigHit, is that they took the time and effort to approach UNICEF and are giving back to a society that desperately needs it. They should be an inspiration to everyone because they started in the industry on such a small scale and have now become a global KPop success who are loved by many.

My time as an ARMY and as a big supporter and fan of BTS has been short. However, my love and appreciation for them continues to grow every single day. Personally, being introduced to BTS has been perfect for me because I have not been in a great space mentally, and BTS’s music has been a beautiful form of medicine to give me the motivation, energy and empowerment to continue doing what I do. I know that many ARMYs feel the same way about BTS and have also been impacted by BTS. So much so, that Big Hit’s slogan “Music & Artist for Healing” is really taking place and has helped so many.

I know that BTS’s success is going to continue and they will have us, the ARMYs, behind them all the way. United, we can continue spreading a message of hope, love and optimism which the world seriously needs. I continue to encourage others not to let language and differences be barriers. Work together, learn from one another, whether it is using music or activism, to continue making this world a better place for all. If we can do this together, then “we’re totally fire”.

BTS is currently nominated for Best Male Group, Best Dance, Best Music Video, Song of the Year and Album of the Year for the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMAs). You can vote for them here.

Luke Waltham is a BA Law Graduate. He is a BA Honours student and has been an activist for transformation, social justice and human rights. #BTSARMY

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