We’re all living through a difficult moment right now, and plenty of people are failing to meet it. Not BTS, though.
The K-pop sensation and their record label, Big Hit Entertainment, have donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter. A rep for the label confirmed the donation to Variety on Friday but had nothing else to say; BTS had already released a statement earlier in the week taking a firm stand in the name of peace.
“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together,” the tweet reads in English, with Korean text (which translates to an almost identical statement) situated just above it. The tweet caps off with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
The BTS donation is one of many to have come from celebrities and public figures as protests have sprung up in the days since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd. The 46-year-old black man died when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, while three other officers looked on and, at times, helped to “restrain” Floyd.
The utter injustice of Floyd’s death, coupled with the video shot by an onlooker that captures every excruciating moment, has prompted what feels to many like a reckoning in the United States around racial inequality and police violence. Protests have sprung up all around the country, and the world as a whole, as people voice their demand for tangible change.
The reach of the protests and the message they carry is reflected in charitable gestures like this one from BTS. But for the pop stars with one of the most wholesome fan communities on the internet, that support goes further.
K-pop fans in general have stepped up in the midst of the protests, and the often racist responses that have proliferated on social media. In recent days, K-pop fans have taken action online in a variety of ways.
They’ve pulled back from boosting their faves (and related hashtags) to leave room for more relevant hashtags. They’ve also spammed police efforts on social media to hunt down protesters and filled QAnon hashtags with meme and fancam posts aimed at drowning out the racism and preposterous conspiracy theorizing.
As you might imagine, BTS fans – known as the BTS Army – were on board with the group’s decision to donate. In fact, fans launched their own effort to match the group’s donation. (You can read more about that campaign right here.)