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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 K-pop band.
Huh?
We have the FAQs.
I wanna hear your voice, and I wanna hear your conviction.
That was Kim Nam Jun, a member of BTS, one of the world's most popular K-pop boy bands.
You might have seen them here, here, here, here or even here.
Hey Jimmy!
Yeah!
I'm Jimin!
But their most important appearance yet was being the first K-pop group to address the U.N.
No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself.
Their simple, powerful message has come a long way, and we don't just mean from South Korea.
To better understand the subgenre in Korean music, let's take you back to the 90s.
The rising popularity of Korean dramas and K-pop was known as "Hallyu" or Korean wave.
But what made that wave swell into a global phenomenon was the internet.
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 K-pop 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.
K-pop is a cultural force to be reckoned with.
Unlike rock music whose history is embedded in rebellion, K-pop's roots are more business-like.
The K-pop industry emerged from the financial crisis in the late 1990s 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, K-pop became a major South Korean export.
Global sales for K-pop-related music and video grew to earn 5 billion a year.
And that's when it got political.
In 2015, South Korea started blaring K-pop 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 (demilitarized zone) and were shot five times by its troops even asked to listen to K-pop girl bands while recovering in the hospital.
Candidates embraced K-pop during South Korea's presidential election in 2017.
Campaigns altered lyrics to popular K-pop 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 K-pop but recently there's been a breakthrough.
Kim Jon Un has admitted that he likes K-pop music saying he was deeply moved after watching a two-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 U.N. and the world.
Telling people to believe their own convictions and voices.
The seven-member 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.
The reactions speak for themselves.
Maybe K-pop can change the world after all.
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天團 BTS 防彈少年團即將重磅回歸!來看看少年們與 KPOP 如何撼動主流政治! (How BTS and K-Pop disrupted mainstream politics)

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Seraya 發佈於 2020 年 2 月 6 日    Seraya 翻譯    Yukiko 審核
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