The smooth-like-butter K-pop group BTS is heading to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden. The purpose of the trip is to celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month and sit down with President Biden to discuss the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination within the U.S.
According to a statement from the White House, the group will visit on Tuesday (May 31) to talk about Asian inclusion and representation, and Biden’s efforts to reduce hate crimes against people of Asian heritage.
“President Biden has previously spoken about his commitment to combating the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes and signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act in May 2021 to provide law enforcement with resources to identify, investigate and report hate crimes and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to AA and NHPI communities,” a statement announcing the visit read.
Anti-Asian hate crime has seen an alarming rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, the rate of anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339 percent in 2021.
“President Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world,” the statement continued. The visit with BTS will come one week after Biden returns from his first trip to Asia as president.
BTS released a statement about their own experience with discrimination last year amid a series of anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. – following the March 16 shootings in Atlanta in which a gunman killed eight people, including six Asian women, at three Asian massage parlors. It was an incident fellow "Butter (Remix)" collaborator, Megan Thee Stallion, also raised awareness about.
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” they tweeted last year. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
BTS visiting the White House isn't the first time a popular musical act has visited President Biden to discuss American social issues. In July of last year, Olivia Rodrigo arrived at the White House to talk to Biden about COVID-19 vaccination, and urged young people to get their shots.
In other BTS news, the group finished up their Permission to Dance Onstage shows in Las Vegas last month, and will be releasing a new album on June 10 called Proof. You can find more information about it on BTS' official website.
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