More than one million people tuned in to YouTube to watch South Korean boy band BTS speak live at the UN General Assembly on Monday.
The seven-member band were introduced by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who said he hoped that the group could help “mobilise the future generations” to take on climate change and called them “the artist that [are] most loved by the people around the world".
“We must not forget, in particular, that the future belongs to our future generations. Joining us today are an exceptionally outstanding group of young men who are connecting with the youth across the world, BTS, in the capacity as a special presidential envoy for future gen–erations and culture,” said Moon.
Dressed in sharp black suits, the members of BTS – Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook – took to the stage to share messages of encouragement for the future and to try to motivate the younger generation to be more serious about environmental issues.
“It is an honour to be here today. We're BTS, appointed special presidential envoy of the Republic of Korea,” said RM.
“We are here today to share the stories of our future generations. Before we came here, we asked young people in their teens and twenties around the world about the past two years and the world they find themselves in today.”
He added: “It is a tough discussion, but I learnt while preparing for today that there are many young people who have an interest in environmental issues and choose it as their field of study. The future is unexplored territory, and that's where we, more than anyone, will spend our time. So, these young people were searching for the answers to the question of how we must live their future.”
They said they also hoped that their generation would be appreciated for its ability to create a positive and healthy world through online communities and connectedness, rather than as victims of lost opportunities owing to the pandemic.
“I’ve heard that people in their teens and twenties today are being referred to as Covid’s lost generation,” RM said. “I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost just because the path they tread can’t be seen by grown-up eyes.”
Towards the end of their speech, they also confirmed that they had all received their vaccines and encouraged others to do so as well.
“Yes, all seven of us, of course we’ve received vaccinations. The vaccine was a sort of ticket to meeting our fans waiting for us and to being able to stand here before you today,” said J-Hope.
After the roughly seven-minute speech, the band showed a video performance of their summer hit, Permission to Dance, in which members were shown singing and dancing throughout the General Assembly Hall and on the premises of the UN headquarters.
In the roughly three hours since the video was uploaded, it has already been viewed more than 2.5 million times.