Korean group Bangtan Boys or BTS told young people to stand up for their rights in a historic appearance at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
BTS had already partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund in 2017 for a campaign that seeks to end violence among children and teenagers in the world.
This time, the seven-member group was chosen as among the youth leaders to be part of a new initiative called the Youth 2030 Strategy.
BTS was invited to grace the launch of this youth program by giving a short speech in front of distinguished guests and heads of states during the UN General Assembly on September 24.
"I want to hear your voice… No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself.”
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) September 24, 2018
“Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself,” Kim Nam-joon said.
Nam-joon or RM, the group’s leader, recalled how he used to worry about what other people think of him.
His only sanctuary back then was music and discovering this passion was the time he started to listen to himself again.
“I had one sanctuary, and that was music. There was a small voice in me that said, ‘Wake up, man, and listen to yourself!’ But it took me a long time to hear music calling my name,” the 24-year-old performer said.
He also thanked the supporters of BTS worldwide for not giving up on him and the group despite the many setbacks he had as a member.
“If there’s anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible because I had my other BTS members by my side, and because of the love and support of our ARMY fans!” RM said.
From this, he encouraged today’s youth to find their voices by speaking and loving themselves first just like what he’s doing today “little by little.”
UNICEF shared this six-minute speech on its official social media accounts on September 25. BTS became one of the most trending online topics worldwide.
Filipino fans expressed their support for their “idols” as well.
Namjoon TY for inspiring us, I admire you sm!? On your next rare UN platform let's not just Wow d GP. Let's Wow d most Powerful Political Leaders of d ?. DM me,let's do more research, focus on goal oriented collab w UNICEF. More Impact & Conviction. #BTSxUnitedNations @BTS_twt
— 국이's & 홉이's English Tutor? (@chefmsantos) September 25, 2018
I was literally crying while watching this.
Such young humble people.
They aren't just idols but one of the world's greatest influencers.
Nothing but respect.
I wanna hug RM right now for his great composure and speech he had given.@BTS_twt#BTSxUnitedNations https://t.co/aLMb0Lc1rN
— jhav guerrero (@jhav_guerrero) September 25, 2018
From Love Myself to Speak Yourself
Last November 2017, BTS and its label Big Hit Entertainment partnered with the Korean Committee –UN to kick off a campaign called Love Myself, which was inspired by its album, Love Yourself.
This cause seeks to raise money and dedicate the funds to help UNICEF with its own cause called #ENDviolence.
“We have been partnering with UNICEF’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence,” RM shared.
He thanked the BTS fans for their constant support to the band’s advocacies and this reminds Jin, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jimin and Jungkook and himself of their responsibility.
“So, let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to “speak yourself,” RM said.
Empowering the youth by 2030
To help the estimated 1.8 billion young people in the world realize their full potential as “agents of change” is the goal of the youth strategy, the United Stations explained in its website.
“Its aim: scale up global, regional and national actions to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap their possibilities as agents of change,” the UN official statement read.
The Youth 2030 Strategy is also part of a bigger goal, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a checklist of 17 sustainable development goals that more than 150 nations have to achieve by 2030.
To achieve their goals, UNICEF and the whole UN system invited people with a global reach in its partnership arm called Generation Unlimited.
BTS joins YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh, also UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and Sri Lankan Jayathma Wickramanayake, also UN’s Envoy on Youth as members of this movement.