If further evidence were needed that BTS is a bonafide global phenomenon, Time magazine has named the K-pop group Entertainer of the Year.
The magazine lauded the seven-member band’s significant global presence, particularly during the pandemic, as well as its willingness to incite its fan base to support causes like Black Lives Matter.
Despite having to cancel their global tour as a result of the pandemic, the band has had quite the year. In August, they became the first all-Korean act to top the US charts with their hit English-language single Dynamite. The song also earned them their first Grammy nomination. With their latest album, Be, they became the first band in history to debut a song and album at number one on the Billboard charts at the same time.
In a mark of the sway that the band has, the music video for the album's first track, the gentle ballad Life Goes On, racked up more than 81 million views within 24 hours of being posted. It also surpassed 150,000 Shazams in the same period.
"There are times when I'm still taken aback by all the unimaginable things that are happening," BTS member Suga told Time in an interview accompanying the announcement. "But I ask myself, Who's going to do this, if not us?"
Time executive editor Ben Goldberger highlighted the group’s ability to transcend Covid-19 and maintain its relationship with its loyal fans, dubbed the Army.
"The communal experience of watching a show, being at a concert, it just dissipated out of thin air and BTS managed to forge a really rich connection with their audience around the world in spite of these barriers which fell many, many other acts," he said.