A month and a half after releasing their record-breaking Love Yourself: Her album in 2017, Korean boy band BTS joined forces with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in an anti-violence campaign dubbed ‘Love Myself.’
This campaign has been on the run for almost two years now, and the group has been actively stimulating support—especially from their fans that call themselves ARMYs—to be able to fight bullying, and put an end to violence against children through various initiatives, but especially their music.
Last July 30, the group released a campaign video with UNICEF, which was intended for International Friendship day, and the video cycles through scenes of bullying to highlight the issues of violence that students face in school. But as the narrative develops, the onscreen teens find solace in their peers who show them love and compassion. The music used is their hit track ‘Love Myself: Answer’ which tackles self-love and their personal experiences with it.
It is no secret that music and politics go hand-in-hand in South Korea, and BTS is a part of that narrative, even more so than others. Their songs have always been geared towards addressing political and social issues—which is very apt to the meaning of their group name Bangtan Sonyeondan orBulletproof Boy Scouts. Boy scouts who speak about societal matters and are voices of the youth.
Their very first single in 2013 “No More Dream,” is all about the group telling fans to follow their own dreams rather than fall prey to society’s expectations. Their track “N.O,” featured similar messaging, as the group addressed the hardships they and their peers have faced in school, and the hard lifestyle of Korean students: “Who made us study machines?” “Who will take responsibility [for us] living the lives of puppets?”
More recent songs like “21st Century Girls” tells girls to live however they want and encourages self-confidence. “Dope” calls out elders who easily criticize the younger generation, and who won’t give young people a chance to survive in the real world, but the boys contend that thanks to their own hard work, they’re actually pretty ‘dope’.
Listing down all the socially relevant tracks that BTS produced will take all day, but the bottom line is, they are giving the youth a voice. And now that they are the most popular Korean group to date, their voice matters and impacts the world in more ways than we can imagine.
With videos that garner almost 200 million views, tweets that reach a million retweets by the hour, what BTS says and does impacts so many lives, and their fanbase is one of the biggest the world has ever seen since The Beatles. And for the last couple of years, fans have been raising different social projects in BTS’ name—and the #EndViolence campaign has been more influential than ever.
The group paved its way to becoming a global phenomenon, and is winning the hearts of many because of the mission that they claim as voices for the youth, and the Asian representation that they bring to the western sphere. The speech that Kim Namjoon, the group’s leader, gave to the UN about urging young people to speak up, be themselves, to “Speak yourself,” inspired millions of fans from all over the world.
Their newly released video is a consistent move with addressing bullying and violence in the environment of children, and is creating such a global impact. People of great influence like them, who use their voices to address vital issues such as bullying and violence are very important, especially through their platforms like music—which people love, appreciate, and tune into.
According to the Love Myself website, their campaign has currently garnered almost 20 million dollars, and is going to aid children and teenagers who are victims of violence and bullying all over the world.