BTS Are Now ‘Special Envoys’
Earlier this month, BTS were just your typical global superstar artists — celebrating birthdays, impressing ARMYs with a special ‘3J’ (J-Hope, Jimin, and Jungkook) dance performance of their “Butter” remix featuring Megan Thee Stallion (while trying not to tease ARMYs with spoilers on VLive), and working out at the gym. Then they announced a long-anticipated collaboration with Coldplay and their “Permission To Dance On Stage” online concert, all the while continuing to serve up weekly doses of laughter and humor with “Run BTS!” episodes. That was topped with the announcement of the second season of “In the SOOP.”
Special Envoy Status
What made September of 2021 even more special, though, had actually been announced earlier in July, when it became public news that South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, would be appointing BTS as his “special presidential envoys for future generations and culture.” This announcement was fulfilled on September 14th when each of the members officially received their certificates of appointment, diplomatic passports, and a fountain pen at an official Blue House presentation.
Four days later, ARMYs were treated to images of BTS departing for New York from Incheon
Airport, with their airport fashion on point as ambassadors for the House of Louis Vuitton. It’s not surprising that nearly all of the Louis Vuitton items worn by BTS that day were soon sold out online. This would have been an emotional moment for ARMYs who know just how much the BTS members have been wanting to return to a sense of pre-pandemic life normalcy, especially when their last official international engagements were in New York back in February of 2020.
What we know from BTS’ pre-recorded VLive is that once they landed in New York, they got to work immediately. Obviously, there were many preparations to do before their speech at the United Nations and, at the top of their ‘Things To Do’ list, would have been filming their “Permission to Dance” performance, which was achieved in the first 15 hours of landing in New York. Due to the amazing work ethic that we know BTS possesses and their attention to detail that keeps pushing them to deliver only the very best performances, the final product was a huge success.
When BTS took to the podium in the lead-up session to the UN General Debate, they were introduced by President Moon Jae-in as his special envoys. Describing them as “an exceptionally astounding group of young men who are connecting with the youth,” the President went on to state that they were “probably the artist that is most loved by people around the world.” With The New York Times confirming that over one million fans watched the live broadcast of BTS’ speech, it is safe to say that their segment was the most viewed in the history of the UNGA.
BTS attended three more official events while in New York - two seated interviews alongside President Moon and the final event was with South Korea’s First Lady at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Once again, BTS’ leader, Kim Namjoon, spoke. However, this time, he seemed more relaxed and in his element as he vocalized the importance and potential of Korean culture in all its forms — music, film, and art. This is actually his second time at the MET Museum, as his first visit was back in 2019 during the band’s world tour. As ARMYs, we all know about RM’s visits to various museums and the appreciation that he has for them.
BTS are not strangers to the United Nations General Assembly, having already spoken there on two prior occasions (2018 and 2020). Surprisingly though, proclaimed friend and supporter, James Corden, made a significant error when he made some inappropriate comments during his talk show, apparently made in jest regarding BTS’ UN attendance and their ‘15-yr old girl’ fandom, backfired. What may have seemed comedic from a ‘Talk Show’ perspective turned out to be more insulting from the perspective of ARMYs, many taking to social media to express a range of feelings and opinions ranging from disappointment to disgust.
This then resulted in a torrential downpour from ARMYs’ intent on disrupting (once again) the deficit-based ‘15-yr-old girl’ narrative. Proud ARMY Lauren O’C7 who is also a scholar of American adolescence and teen media, gave a brief history lesson on Twitter about the teenage girl social construct deriving from “increasing adult male anxiety in the mid-century,” while ARMY Donna7 reminded us that the ‘teenage FANgirl’ narrative also stems from “cultural anxiety around female agency and sexual empowerment.” On another topic, BTS member, Suga, mentioned during their pre-recorded VLive that some questioned BTS’ role as special envoys, questioning why they would attend and what their purpose is for being there. Perhaps in their minds, BTS are only singers. Suga’s response that they were well aware of their role in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) highlights the importance of their reach and platform that BTS has as global artists. In fact, ARMYs too have been long-time advocates of the SDGs, which Borasaek Vision wrote about last year in our blog titled, “Sustainable Development Goals With ARMY.”
J-Hope responded to queries during their UN speech, confirming that the BTS members had all been vaccinated prior to traveling to New York. In fact, ARMYs may remember that this too became a contentious issue when a certain magazine implied that BTS’ status as special envoys “had pushed them to the front of the line” when the country was struggling with vaccine shortages. ARMYs once again were quick to counter those comments, stating that the BTS members received their vaccinations as part of the nation’s rollout according to their age group.
What do all of these situations have in common? They remind us that there is no excuse for ignorance. BTS are, for the most part, an open book to ARMY. This means that the general public also has access to the same information. There are no hidden agendas or conspiracies in the making when it comes to BTS and yet, time and time again, this is often how the BTS members and ARMYs are portrayed by others that do not know them well.
Which is why this blog should end on a positive note. During their brief visit to New York, BTS participated in their own schedule as well, surprising ARMYs with snapshots of their meeting with Houston’s very own Hot Girl Coach, Megan Thee Stallion. Although impressed by Megan’s height and kindness, it seems that their hearts were captured by her French Bulldog, 4oe, who even has his own Instagram with almost 600,000 followers.
Credit: @BTS_twt and @theestallion Twitter
Last, but not least, the endless ‘passport’ saga will always be a favorite topic for BTS and ARMYs, especially when it comes to our leader, RM. So as the members sat around their lunch table discussing the highlights of their visit to New York, their UN experience, their jetlag, and Jimin’s ‘죄송합니다’ moment, it’s not surprising that the topic of passports arose. Here we learned that the members will surrender their diplomatic passports once their official UN duties are completed. As the members commented jokingly that their passports were being held in care (by their managers), the fact that J-Hope just casually pulled his diplomatic passport out of his jacket pocket must have caused a few moments of light-hearted anxiety for ARMY.
This is why BTS are so loved by ARMY. The members put their hearts and souls into everything they do. They each have their own personal traits and characteristics, and when they are pulled together as BTS, their collective purpose rises to the forefront of their careers. Their messages of hope and love in addition to their ethics of sincerity and hard work transcend borders and boundaries. They understand that BTS has a ‘higher purpose’ and they work diligently to ensure that their fans' love and trust is not misplaced. Whether BTS are ambassadors, artists, or special envoys, they take their responsibilities seriously and are always quick to tell the world that without ARMY, BTS would not exist.
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Written By: Shelley
Edit By: Esma
Checked By: Cassie