Korean pop act BTS may be famous for their powerful social media presence, insane music videos, and ultra-cool aesthetic, but they are serving up much more than just good looks and hit songs. This week, the boy band became the first K-pop group to speak at the United Nations General Assembly, and what the leader of this group had to say should seriously inspire you.
BTS has long been involved in philanthropic efforts. The group launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF, which, according to the official campaign site, wishes to "protect and support child and teen victims of domestic and school violence as well as sexual assault."
Speaking on behalf of the group, leader Kim Nam Joon, better known as RM ("Rap Monster") shared a speech about believing in one's self, against all odds. He explained that, as a child growing up in Seoul, he had a curious nature and big dreams, but other people's judgments and expectations held him back.
"I stopped looking up at the stars at night. I stopped daydreaming. I tried to jam myself into moulds that other people made," RM said in his speech. "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."
He added that it was finding music that allowed him to carve out his own path in life.
"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."
Even when RM joined BTS, life wasn't always so easy.
"Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were hurdles," RM told the audience. "Most people thought we were hopeless. Sometimes, I just wanted to quit. I think I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up."
He concluded with a call to arms to his fans: Find, and use, your voice.
"After releasing the Love Yourself albums and launching the "Love Myself" campaign, [BTS] 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. These stories constantly remind us of our responsibility. So, let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to 'speak yourself.'"