BTS just became the first K-pop band to address the United Nations.
As reported last week, the groundbreaking moment is all part of the group’s partnership with UNICEF’s new global initiative, Generation Unlimited, which launched on Monday and is aimed at encouraging young people. In their seven-minute speech on Monday, delivered in English by RM, BTS talked all about what it takes to practice self-love and acceptance.
RM began by thanking the BTS ARMY for being a major part of their previous campaign, the Love Myself movement that was part of UNICEF’s #ENDviolence campaign. “We truly have the best fans in the world,” he said.
He then kicked off his speech by talking about his childhood in Ilsan, a city near the South Korean capital of Seoul. “I used to imagine that I was a superhero who could save the world,” he said. “In an intro to one of our early albums, there’s a line that says, ‘My heart stopped when I was maybe nine or ten.’ Looking back, I think that’s when I began to worry about what other people thought of me, and started seeing myself through their eyes. I stopped looking up at the night skies, the stars, I stopped daydreaming. Instead, I just tried to jam myself into the molds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and started to listen to the voices of others.”
RM said that his one escape and form of expression was music. But, he added, “even after deciding to join BTS, there were a lot of hurdles.”
“Some people might not believe, but most people thought we were hopeless, and sometimes, I just wanted to quit,” he said. “But I think I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up. And I’m sure that I, and we, will keep stumbling and falling like this. BTS has become artists performing in those huge stadiums and selling millions of albums right now, but I am still an ordinary 24-year-old guy. If there’s anything I’ve achieved, it was only possible that I have my other BTS members right by my side, and because of the love and the support that our ARMY fans all over the world make for us.”
The rapper continued by talking about the emotional journey he took in order to be able to love himself. “After releasing our Love Yourself albums, and launching the Love Myself campaigns, we started to hear remarkable stories from our fans all over the world how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves,” he said. “Those stories constantly remind us of our responsibility. So let’s take our one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so I urge you to speak yourself. I like to ask all of you ‘What is your name? What excites you and make your heart beat? Tell me your story.’ I want to hear your voice. I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself. Find your name and find your voice by speaking yourself.”
“I’m Kim NamJoon, and also, RM of BTS. I’m an idol, and I’m an artist from a small town in Korea,” RM added, before wrapping up his speech on an inspirational note. “Like most people, I’ve made many and plenty mistakes in my life. I have many faults, and I have many more fears, but I’m gonna embrace myself as hard as I can, and I’m starting to love myself gradually just little by little. What is your name? Speak yourself. Thank you very much.”