How BTS and K-Pop disrupted mainstream politics


– [Narrator] In a political
climate as crazy as this one, the most powerful speech
at the United Nations wasn’t actually from a world leader but from a KPop band, huh ? We have the FAQs. “I wanna hear your voice, and
I wanna hear your conviction.” – [Narrator] That was Kim
Nam Jun, a member of BTS, one of the world’s most
popular KPop boy bands. You might have seen them here, here, here, here or even here. – Hey Jimmy ! – Yeah ! – I’m Jimmy ! (laughs) – [Narrator] But their most
important appearance yet was being the first KPop
group to address the UN. “No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself.” – [Narrator] Their
simple, powerful message has come a long way and we don’t just mean from South Korea. To better understand the
sub-genre in Korean music, let’s take you back to the 90’s. (upbeat KPop music) The rising popularity of
Korean dramas and KPop was known as “Hallyu” or Korean wave. But what made that wave swell
into a global phenomenon was the Internet. (“Gangnam Style” by Psy) In fact, the first video to
reach 1 billion views on YouTube was Psy’s “Gangnam Style” in 2012. “Gangnam Style” may have seem
like an overnight success, but it takes much longer for KPop artists to make it big. Aspiring artists are usually scouted by or auditioned for management companies. If selected, they are groomed, mentored and intensely trained from
a young age by managers or agents for years before
recording their first song. It’s a formula used by
many successful groups and labels in the Western world. Think The Temptations, Spice
Girls, Backstreet Boys, The Monkees, Pussycat Dolls
and more but much more intense. The music is fun but it’s no game. KPop is a cultural force
to be reckoned with. Unlike rock music whose history
is embedded in rebellion, KPop’s roots are more business-like. The KPop industry emerged
from the financial crisis in the late 1990’s when the
South Korean economy tanked. To rebuild, the government
didn’t just focus on obvious sectors like
manufacturing and tech, they invested in entertainment. As audiences grew, KPop became
a major South Korean export. Global sales for
KPop-related music and video grew to earn 5 billion a year. And that’s when it got political. (yells in a foreign language) In 2015, South Korea
started blaring KPop music across the border, toward North Korea. Songs such as Apink’s “Just Let Us Love” and Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang” were played to entice the North and also show cultural dominance. In 2017, a North Korean soldier
who dashed across the DMZ and were shot five times by its troops even asked to listen to KPop girl bands while recovering in the hospital. Candidates embraced KPop
during South Korea’s presidential election in 2017. Campaigns altered lyrics
to popular KPop songs and choreographed signature dance moves. South Korea’s current President
Moon Jae-in for example used “Cheer Up” by the girl
band Twice as his anthem. In North Korea, people were literally being imprisoned for
watching or listening to KPop but recently there’s been a breakthrough. Kim Jon Un has admitted
that he likes KPop music saying he was deeply moved after watching a 2 hour concert in Pyongyang. The concert was the latest in
a series of diplomatic moves designed to ease tensions
to the Trump and Kim summit. Now we have Korean sensation
BTS stepping up to the plate to address the UN and the world. Telling people to believe their
own convictions and voices. The seven -ember boy band joined UNICEF in creating the LOVE MYSELF campaign, building the belief that, “True love first begins
with loving myself, I have many faults and
I have many more fears but I’m gonna embrace
myself as hard as I can and I’m starting to love myself gradually just little by little.” – [Narrator] The reactions
speak for themselves. Maybe KPop can change the world after all.

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