‘Life goes on,’ BTS tells world youth amid COVID-19 crisis in UNGA message

K-pop superstars BTS delivered a powerful message to young people around the world who are struggling to cope with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

BTS were invited to speak at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), joining world leaders, industry and civil society. The General Debate of the 75th session is from Sept. 22 to 29 but due to COVID-19, many participants had to deliver their speeches through videos.

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore joined BTS in a pre-recorded video released on Sept. 23 that focused on helping the youth around the world during the health crisis.

“Things might not feel right now, but we can use this time to think about how we can reimagine and build a better world. You are not alone. I hear you. And I know our friends, BTS, hear you,” she said.

RM said that “it is a great honor for us to have this valuable opportunity to speak in a session in the 75th UN General Assembly. Two years ago here, I asked your name. I urged you to let me hear your voice. And I let myself be filled with imagination.”

Two years ago, BTS spoke at the 73rd UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City in September 2018 as goodwill ambassadors of Generation Unlimited, a partnership focused on global education.

“As a boy from the small city of Ilsan in Korea, as a young man standing at the UNGA, as a global citizen of this world, I imagined the limitless possibilities before all of us and my heart beating with excitement. But COVID-19 was beyond my imagination. Our world tour was totally cancelled, all our plans went away, and I became alone, I looked up but couldn’t see the stars at night,” RM added.

Jimin said, “I felt hopeless. Everything fell apart. I could only look outside my window, I could only go to my room. Yesterday, I was singing and dancing with fans around the world, and now my world had shrunk to a room. And then, my friends took my hand. We comforted each other & talked about what we could do together.”

(Top) BTS for the 75th UNGA and (bottom) at the 73rd UN General Assembly in New York City in September 2018. (Photos: Twitter, Cheong Wa Dae)

“Life became simple, maybe for the first time. It was precious time, unwanted but welcome. I’m used to an entire world shrinking in an instant. When I’m on tour, I stand in bright lights and loud cheers, but at night in my room my world becomes only a few paces wide. The room itself was small, but my world and our world, reached far and wide. In this world we had our instruments, our phones and our fans,” said Suga.

V said, “But this time it felt different. It felt lonelier and smaller. Why? I thought for a long time. I thought, maybe because it became harder to imagine. I was frustrated and depressed, but I took notes, wrote songs, and thought about who I was. I thought, ‘If I give up here, then I’m not the star of my life. This is what an awesome person would do.’

“I don’t know who was first. We embraced all these emotions and the seven of us began to make music together. This is where the music came from, and this made us honest. Our lives are unpredictable. We don’t know all the answers. I knew where I wanted to go, but not how I could get there. All I did to get here was trust ourselves, do my best and love what I do,” said J-Hope.

Jin narrated, “I found again the people I love. The other members. my family, my friends. I found the music I love, and I found myself. Thinking about the future and trying hard are all important. But cherishing yourself, encouraging yourself and keeping yourself happy is the most important. In a world of uncertainty, we must cherish the importance of ‘me,’ ‘you,’ and ‘us.’ That’s the message of ‘Love Myself,’ we talked about for three years, it’s the message in the lyrics of our song ‘Dynamite,’--‘I’m diamond, you know I glow up.’

“One night we were working together. RM said he couldn’t see the stars anymore, but I saw my face reflected in the window. I saw all of our faces. Our songs became the stories we wanted to tell each other. We live in uncertainty, but really, nothing’s changed. If there’s something I can do, if our voices can give strength to people, then that’s what we want and that’s what we’ll keep on doing,” said Jungkook.

According to RM, “When I start feeling lost, I remember my face in the window like Jungkook said. I remember the words I spoke here two years ago: ‘Love yourself, speak yourself.’ Now more than ever, we must try to remember who we are and face who we are. We must try to love ourselves, and imagine the future. BTS will be there with you.”

He added, “Our tomorrow may be dark, painful, difficult. We might stumble or fall down. Stars shine brightest when the night is darkest. If the stars are hidden, we’ll let moonlight guide us. If even the moon is fark, let our faces be the light that helps us find our way. Let’s reimagine our world. We’re huddled together tired, but let’s dream again. Let’s dream about a future when our worlds can break out of our small rooms again. It might feel like it’s night and we’ll always be alone, but the night is always the darkest before the first light of dawn.

“Life goes on. Let’s live on,” all the members of the BTS said.