Arguably one of the biggest boy bands in the world at the moment, K-pop darlings, and fierce advocators of being your own biggest fan – BTS – made history overnight as the first South Korean music group to speak at the United Nations.
All seven immaculately-dressed members of the group attended the launch of the UN’s global youth initiative Generation Unlimited at the UN’s 73rd General Assembly, joining other youth delegates in New York to speak on behalf of the world’s young people.
Kim Namjoon (known as RM) took to the mic for a rousing and emotional speech about self-acceptance and self-confidence, leaning into the extensive philanthropic work that the group does through their ‘Love Myself‘ campaign, their Love Yourself albums, and the work they’ve been doing for the UN’s ENDViolence campaign.
Namjoon, flanked by his BTS bandmates, spoke about his personal experiences with overcoming hurdles and obstacles to chase his dreams from a young boy in a city just outside of Seoul to be one of the faces of one of the most influential musical acts in the world in 2018, and thanked the group’s fans (known as the ARMY) for their unending support.
Even after the decision of joining BTS, there were a lot of hurdles…Most people thought we were hopeless, and sometimes I just wanted to quit. Anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible that I had my other BTS members right by my side, and because of the love and support that our Army fans all over the world made for us.
I’d like to ask all of you: What is your name? What excites you and makes your heart beat? 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 colour, your gender identity – just speak yourself.
BTS fans reacted to the speech online, confirming Namjoon’s claims that they are the “best in the world.”
they're more than just a kpop band, they're more than just a successful boy band, they ARE the voice of our generation, a symbol and beacon of hope and ambassador of youth empowerment and i can't explain enough how proud i am to call them my idols #BTSxUnitedNation— ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???? (@themaknaejk) September 24, 2018
my heart bustesr the fatest amount of respect and love for namjoon when he said “gender identities” instead of just girls ???????? it’s not everyday i get to feel included in stuff like that due to being nonbinary thx president namjoon god bless xx #SPEAKYOURSELF— joe noon jazzney im knee dah (@Jazzneytm) September 24, 2018
Fans have also begun to share their own stories through the #SpeakYourself hashtag, talking about their own struggles and how BTS has helped them in their darkest times.
waddup im mak, im nineteen & im in university to become a teacher; i suffer from anxiety, insomnia, & depression. on my lowest days, bts manages to make me feel better, and on my highest days, they just make me shine a little brighter. im forever grateful#SPEAKYOURSELF— stomakache (@fcukyoongi) September 24, 2018
My name is Deja I’m 17 years old and I’m currently a senior in high school. I suffer from body insecurities and stress. But through the help of bangtan and the Love Yourself series, I’m starting to learn how to love myself and spread that love to others.????#SPEAKYOURSELF— dsanaam✨ (@_dayyyy) September 24, 2018
#SPEAKYOURSELF— M̶ira???????? (@H0NGJOONG) September 24, 2018
Hey I'm Samira, I struggle with finding my identity as a Somalian, South African, and as an Asexual person. I've always looked at the world in a positive light but the world always threw dirt back at me; after listening to bts I felt a sense of home…Hear me SPEAK
I’m Nyah 19 and I have social anxiety and depression and some days are hard. When I start to feel bad I listen to @BTS_twt and it doesn’t make me feel 100% better but it does help. Because of them I’ve started to figure out who I am and learn to truly love myself #SPEAKYOURSELF— Nyah ~Speak Yourself~ (@50shadesofweir2) September 24, 2018
My name is Jackie, im 27 years old, im deaf, for 12 years and continually been bullied, im scared of ppl and always kept to my self and hated myself till i met BTS and Army, they slowly help me to learn to love my self and give me strength to defend myself @BTS_twt #SpeakYourself— ????MyHeartKingdom???? (@MyHeartKingdom1) September 24, 2018
Check out the whole speech below and just try and not feel bloody motivated to do good things like these pure and precious angels who we do not deserve.