Korean pop sensations BTS said it was “not wrong to be different” as they delivered opening remarks at a White House press briefing.
The music megastars joined press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and each gave short statements in their native Korean, assisted by an interpreter.
The seven-member boy band — who go by the names J-Hope, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin, RM and Jimin – earlier met with US President Joe Biden to discuss Asian inclusion and representation and to address hate crime against Asian people, the White House said.
Thursday was also the last day of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) heritage month.
During the press briefing, Jimin said: “We were devastated by the recent surge in hate crimes, including Asian-American hate crimes.
“To put a stop to this and support the cause we’d like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again.”
His colleague Suga said: “It is not wrong to be different, I think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
V said: “Everyone has their own history. We hope that today is one step closer to respecting and understanding each and every one as a valuable person.”
The Grammy-winning K-pop group also thanked their legions of fans, known as “the army”, for their continuing support and praised their diversity.
J-Hope said: “We are here once again thanks to our army, our fans worldwide, who have different nationalities and cultures and use different languages.
“We are truly and always grateful.”
Jungkook added: “We are still surprised that music created by South Korean artists reaches so many people around the world, transcending language and cultural barriers.
“We believe music is always an amazing and wonderful unifier of all things.”
President Biden has previously been outspoken about his commitment to combating a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, and last year signed the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act into US law.