K-pop group BTS returned to the United Nations on Monday Sep. 20 to give an inspirational speech for young people along with a video of them performing their hit song “Permission to Dance” through the empty UN Assembly Hall to empower them to take action.
Introduced by South Korea’s president as special presidential envoys and an “exceptionally outstanding group of young men who are connecting with the youth across the world”, BTS took to the podium to deliver a speech at a gathering for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a better and more sustainable future.
Leader of the group, Kim Namjoon, known as RM, began the speech, saying the group had spoken to young people around the globe about the world they live in today, with members then sharing the sadness and disappointment their fans – and they themselves – had experience during the past two years as major events such as graduations and concerts were canceled.
However, Namjoon said that during the process of hearing their stories, he discovered that many young people were interested in environmental issues and had chosen it as their field of study
“The future is unexplored territory, and that is where we more than anyone will spend our time,” he said.
“So I hope we don’t just consider our future as grim darkness, we have people who are concerned for the world, and searching for the answers,” Taehyung added. “There are still many pages left in the story about us, and I thought we shouldn’t talk like the ending has already been written.”
Namjoon then said that many people have referred to young people as “COVID’s Lost Generation”, but the group disagreed with that.
Jin offered: “I think that’s why instead of the “Lost Generation”, a more appropriate name would be “The Welcome Generation”, because instead of fearing change, this generation says welcome and keeps forging ahead.”
As they encouraged people to look forward to the future, BTS shared a pre-recorded video of them performing “Permission To Dance” as a “message of welcome that we want to share with everyone today.”
The live stream of their speech was watched by more than one million people at one time.
In 2018, BTS became the first K-pop group to ever address the United Nations. The 2018 speech launched UNICEF’s new “Generation Unlimited” youth campaign, a global partnership dedicated to getting every young person into quality education, training or employment by 2030.
Last year, the group also spoke at the UN, giving a powerful speech about not losing hope during the pandemic.