As Special Presidential Envoy for Future Generations and Culture, BTS attended the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 20 and spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change on younger generations.
“We are here today to share the stories of our future generation,” the group's leader RM said. The group shared their vulnerable, frank thoughts about the hardships they've faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including the cancellation of their world tour, but also marveled at the resiliency younger generations have shown in these trying times.
Using billboards, the members of BTS revealed what younger generations have been focusing on amidst the pandemic. One of the responses was spending more time in nature, which member J-Hope connected to the importance of addressing climate change. “I shudder to think about mourning for the Earth,” he stated. “Everyone agrees that climate change is an important problem, but talking about what the best solution might be, that’s not easy. It’s a topic that’s tough to make conclusions about.”
At the podium, RM rebuked the idea that teenagers and young adults growing up during the pandemic are part of a "Lost Generation" and missing out key life experiences. “I’ve heard that people in their teens and 20s today are begin referred to as COVID’s 'Lost Generation;' that they’ve lost their way at a time when they need the most diverse opportunities and must try new things," he commented. "I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost just because the paths they tread cannot be seen by grown up eyes."
Instead, eldest member Jin offered a new, uplifting title in its place. “Instead of the lost generation a more appropriate name would be the welcome generation,” he said. “Because, instead of fearing change, this generation says welcome and keeps forging ahead.”
In addition to talking about the effects of the pandemic on younger generations, the group also told the world their vaccination status. “Yes. All seven of us, of course we received vaccinations,” J-Hope confirmed. RM added: "Just like we said in our message today, we too are doing the things that we are able to do right now."
The group's leader ended their moving speech on an inspirational note about the importance of acceptance and making wise choices for the betterment of the world around us. “We thought the world had stopped but it continues to move forward,” RM said. “I believe that every choice we make is the beginning of change, not the end. I hope that in this new world we can all say to each other: welcome."
In addition to their speech, BTS also performed their most recent single "Permission To Dance" as well. And, if that wasn't exciting enough, the group capped off a historic week by meeting fellow "Butter" collaborator Megan Thee Stallion, of course!