K-pop supergroup BTS will go to the White House next week to discuss a recent spate of hate crimes targeting Asians and Asian-Americans with President Biden, the administration’s latest attempt to use celebrities to push social and political messages.
The White House announced the May 31 visit on Thursday, adding that the septet will also “discuss Asian inclusion and representation” with the commander-in-chief.
The South Korean singing group – also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene” – has not shied away from condemning Anti-Asian violence in the past, tweeting in March 2021 “#StopAsianHate #StopAAPIHate,” along with a lengthy statement.
“We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians,” they wrote in Korean and English. “We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.”
“We stand against racial discrimination,” the group added. “We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respect. We will stand together.”
Twitter announced in December that the post was the most retweeted tweet of 2021,
The Biden White House is no stranger to visits from celebrities and social media influencers.
Most recently, actress and singer Selena Gomez attended the inaugural Conversation on Youth Mental Health led by the Department of Health and Human Services and MTV Entertainment. Gomez has long been an advocate for mental health awareness and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2020.
Socialite and former reality TV star Paris Hilton also made a recent appearance at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to meet with administration officials on child abuse laws.
The Biden administration has faced backlash over its use of celebrity-driven advocacy – particularly when it came to promoting COVID-19 vaccines.
In December, Twitter users slammed the administration for enlisting musical group Pentatonix to sing about getting a booster shot. The same month, the White House was hit over a cringey TikTok video Biden made with the Jonas Brothers.
In August, the White House was criticized for using social media influencer Benny Drama to push for young Americans to get vaccinated in a viral TikTok video featuring then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Other boldface-named visitors to the White House include pop singer Olivio Rodrigo who spoke about vaccines during a press briefing, R&B singer Ciara, who met with first lady Jill Biden to discuss childhood vaccinations, and PBS host Bill Nye, who filmed a TikTok video with the president to promote the Build Back Better spending bill.
Earlier this year, the White House took social media influencer advocacy to another level – holding a briefing with 30 high-profile TikTok creators about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the hope that the influencers would share accurate information about the ongoing war.