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BTS Addressed The United Nations General Assembly

International Korean music group, BTS were invited to speak as honorary guests at the United Nations General Assembly with UNICEF for the launch of ‘Generation Unlimited’. Generation Unlimited is “a global partnership that aims to ensure that every young person is in education, learning, training or employment by 2030”

At this congregation, leader of the group, Kim Namjoon took the stand with his fellow members – Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jungkook- to speak about the incredible journey that the group has made with their “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF as well as to speak about their own personal experiences.

Image credit: UNICEF

Kim Namjoon spoke to an audience of United Nations delegates at the “Generation Unlimited: Youth 2030” about his deeply personal experiences with low-self esteem and loneliness that troubled him as a young boy before he became known as RM- leader of an internationally renowned boy band.

He started off with introducing himself and briefly speaking about the “Love Myself” campaign that BTS launched with UNICEF.

Last November, BTS launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF, building on our belief that “true love first begins with loving myself.” We have been partnering with UNICEF’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence.

Our fans have become a major part of this campaign with their action and enthusiasm. We truly have the best fans in the world.

Namjoon then went on to recall how he was just an ordinary boy living in beautiful Ilsan, a city near Seoul of South Korea before he became an idol. At the time, Namjoon was forced to try and fit the mold that society had placed upon him.

Looking back, 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 stars at night. I stopped daydreaming. I tried to jam myself into molds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and started to listen to the voices of others. No one called out my name, and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. So, like this, I, we, all lost our names. We became like ghosts.

Being in that state is very hard especially when you have the pressures of society weighing you down. Namjoon, however, decided to disrupt the status quo and made an identity for himself through music. All the members of BTS have their own stories of struggle and hardship that they had to overcome. Although they have been able to overcome those hardships and struggles, Namjoon said that he knows that there will be more to come.

But I had one sanctuary and that was music. There was a small voice inside of myself that said, ‘Wake up man, and listen to yourself.’

Even after deciding to join BTS, there were a lot of hurdles. Some people may not believe it but most people thought we were hopeless. And sometimes I just wanted to quit. But I think I was really lucky to not give it all up. And I’m sure that I, and we, will keep stumbling and falling like this.

Regardless of the things that will come his way. Namjoon is okay with it. He is okay with it because he is who he is today with all of his faults and mistakes.

Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. Today, I am who I am with all of my faults and mistakes. Tomorrow, I might a tiny bit wiser and that’ll be me too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life.

I have come to love myself for who I am who I was and who I hope to become.

Namjoon believes that once we are all able to get to a place where we are able to truly love ourselves, it is important to speak about yourself. He wants to hear the inspiring and amazing stories that each and every one of us has to bring to the world that we live in, he wants you to be proud to let yourself be known. No matter what has occurred in the past, present or what will happen in the future, you are who you are today because of all those mistakes and faults but also because of the things that you have achieved.

So let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to speak yourself.

I’d like to ask all of you, ‘What is your name? What excites you and makes your heart beat?’ Tell me your story. I wanna hear your voice and 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.

Namjoon concluded his speech by reminding everyone that although hardships and struggles are inevitable, they can be overcome by love. Namjoon thanked his fellow BTS members who stood proudly behind him and thanked the fans from all over the world for their overwhelming love and support that has helped BTS become who they are today.

After releasing our “Love Yourself” albums and “Love Myself” campaign, 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. Those stories constantly remind us of our responsibility.

BTS has become artists performing in those huge stadium and selling millions of albums right now – but I am still an ordinary 24-year-old guy. If there’s anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible because I have my other BTS members right by my side, and because of the love and support that our ARMY fans all over the world made for us.

Namjoon’s speech touched the hearts of millions of people online which led to #SPEAKYOURSELF being created. People all over the world use this hashtag to speak about themselves and share their story. Just like he did at the end of his speech in front of the U.N delegates.

I’m Kim Namjoon, RM of BTS. I’m a hip-hop idol and an artist from a small town in Korea. Like most people, I made many mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many fears, but I am going to embrace myself as hard as I can, and I’m starting to love myself, little by little.

What is your name? Speak Yourself!

Since their debut in 2013, BTS has been a group who are not afraid of speaking out and bringing awareness to the things they stand for and believe in. BTS started off as a group that received so much hate from the general public and everyone believed that they would amount to nothing especially because they were coming from an agency that was nowhere near as successful as the “Big 3” companies: SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment. Despite the hate that they received from all corners of the earth, the group still stood tall and shared their message with the world.

Through their music, they have been able to fight for those who did not know how to fight for themselves.  They spoke up for the youth whose voices were not being heard. Not just the youth in South Korea but youth from all over the world. Thousands of news outlets and people simply refer to BTS, as a “K-Pop group” but they are so much more than that. The message that these boys are sharing with the world is not just about K-Pop. It is not about any other South Korean entertainment agency either. This is about a group of youthful men who have a platform and choose to use it to be a voice to this new generation but not only limited to this new generation. They are a voice for millions of people worldwide regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or socio-economic background. The message that BTS spread through their music is a message that can apply to anyone. The message shared is not one that should be restricted to millions of crying fangirls but instead, Namjoon’s message at ‘Generation Unlimited’ is a message for all. His speech was full of raw emotions which carried a powerful and inclusive message that every single person, no matter what their walk of life may be, can relate to.

BTS will continue to be a voice to millions of people and their message isn’t exclusive to a certain demographic. Their message is inclusive and one that can touch anyone in their walk of life.

Kim Namjoon’s speech is available to watch on Youtube and read on UNICEF‘s website.


Featured Image Via UNICEF

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Zoë Selesi
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Zoë is from England, currently living in New York for university studying Magazine Journalism. She is the senior editor for the Arts &Culture site. Zoë is a lover of all music genres, especially alternative R&B, UK Grime and Korean music.

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