\'Change? We welcome it!\' BTS\' address to UN in upcycled suits takes world by storm
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"All seven of us have been vaccinated," RM said, explaining that they saw the vaccination as "a sort of ticket to meeting our fans waiting for us. And to being able to stand here before you today."
The New York Times reported, "The seven members of the Korean pop group [. . .] promoted the coronavirus vaccine and lauded young people for their resiliency during a nearly seven-minute speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York."
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A UN speech by the music group BTS is drawing global attention.
BTS delivered a message to the world on behalf of young people and future generations at the opening session of the Sustainable Development Goals Moment (SDG Moment), a special event for the 76th UN General Assembly held in New York on Sept. 20.
Sharing photographs that showed the diverse ways members of the young generation are working to live a healthier life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, BTS said, “Instead of the ‘lost’ generation, a more appropriate name would be the ‘welcome’ generation.’”
“Because instead of fearing change, this generation says, ‘welcome’ and keeps forging ahead,” Jin said.
“If we believe in possibilities and hope, even when the unexpected happens we will not lose our way but discover new ones,” RM added.
The group also emphasized the importance of vaccinations against COVID-19.
“All seven of us have been vaccinated,” RM said, explaining that they saw the vaccination as “a sort of ticket to meeting our fans waiting for us. And to being able to stand here before you today.”
“Like the vaccinations. Efforts are continuously underway to keep this new reality going forward. I think the day we can meet again face-to-face is not far away,” V added.
“I hope that in this nascent new world we can all say to each other ‘welcome,’” they said.
Discussing the future to follow the pandemic, BTS mentioned environmental issues as something essential for sustainable development.
“Everyone agrees that climate change is an important problem, but talking about what the best solution might be... That’s not easy,” member J-Hope said.
The group noted that it’s hard to find answers about climate change, but that they were heartened by how many young people are interested in environmental issues, “searching for the answers to the question of how we must live” in a future made up of unexplored territory.
Overseas news outlets also took notice of the message shared by BTS in the speech.
The Washington Post wrote, “The seven members — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook — relayed the experiences of the younger generation, and how their views about their future paths were being shaped by the pandemic.”
The New York Times reported, “The seven members of the Korean pop group [. . .] promoted the coronavirus vaccine and lauded young people for their resiliency during a nearly seven-minute speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York.”
The music industry magazine Billboard wrote that BTS had “brought their message of love and community to a truly global stage on Monday morning [Sept. 20]” and “offered a message of hope, pointing to the young people who are focused on making the world a cleaner, more efficient place.”
Noting it was the third UN speech that BTS had taken part in after previous ones in 2018 and 2020, the IT website Mashable wrote that the group was an “integral part” of the UN General Assembly.
Other major media such as Rolling Stone, Variety, and Teen Vogue also devoted major coverage to the UN General Assembly speech and performance by BTS.
During the General Assembly, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) offered BTS a message of thanks.
Mentioning the names of the seven BTS members in a Sept. 21 tweet, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote, “Thank you for using your voices to encourage others to get their vaccine & for doing your part to help end this pandemic.”
Also drawing notice were the suits worn by the BTS members during the speech. All of them were dressed in suits on the podium, and the outfits in question were from a luxury overseas brand — but garments made with upcycled materials.
The term “upcycling” refers to a practice in which discarded items are not merely recycled, but given new designs and uses that contribute to high value. The BTS suits were made with stock apparel and eco-friendly material.
By Jung Hyuk-june, staff reporter
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