Korean boy band BTS, also known as the Bangtan Boys, are well-known for their dominance over the global music industry. But did you know they’re also active philanthropists?
Made up of seven members — Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook — BTS took to the world stage in 2013 with their first album 2 Cool 4 Skool. They quickly became one of the most popular names in K-pop, shattering records in South Korea and abroad to garner fans from all over the world.
Despite their global success, the Korean pop boy band never let stardom go to their heads.
In 2018, BTS became the first South Korean act to top the US Billboard 200 chart, which ranks the 200 most popular music albums in the United States. In the same year, they partnered with the UN for Generation Unlimited, a global initiative to invest in education and skills training for young people to prepare them for the workforce.
From donating to charity to championing social causes, each member of BTS has taken it upon themselves to make the world a better place. And they’ve inspired their fans to take action, too.
In September, BTS is joining a lineup of amazing international artists for Global Citizen Live, a 24 hour global broadcast to defend the planet and defeat poverty. As part of this advocacy event, Global Citizens everywhere can take action on the world’s biggest issues ahead of three international conferences this year: the UN General Assembly, the G20 meeting, and the COP26 climate conference.
We’ll be announcing more details soon about BTS’ performance as part of Global Citizen Live. In the meantime, need a little inspiration from one of the most iconic pop acts of the 21st century? We’ve rounded up seven ways that BTS inspires others to create lasting change in the global fight to defend the planet and defeat poverty.
1. BTS partnered with UNICEF to end violence against children.
Since November 2017, BTS has partnered with the Korean and Japanese Committees for UNICEF to launch Love Myself, an effort to combine the group’s promotion of self love and mental health with UNICEF’s campaign to #ENDViolence against children.
Your comment of encouragement counts💜 Join us in spreading the LOVE MYSELF message!— LOVE MYSELF (@bts_love_myself) August 11, 2021
All the proceeds from LOVE MYSELF LINE stickers will go to the #BTS LOVE MYSELF fund
Love Myself highlights a signature message found in BTS’ many songs and albums: before you can love anyone else, you have to first take care of yourself. The group encourages fans to post images of themselves promoting self-love on social media with the hashtag #BTSLoveMyself, as well as donates proceeds from the campaign to UNICEF to support victims of school violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
It’s just that loving myself, Doesn’t require anyone else’s permission, I’m looking for myself again.
"Answer: Love Myself"
In 2021, BTS renewed the Love Myself campaign to continue supporting violence prevention programs and help children and teenagers affected by violence around the world.
2. They also support everyone’s right to learn.
Singer Jimin grew up in Busan and attended the Busan High School of Arts to study dance. Since 2016, the South Korean superstar has made several donations to support education in his home community, donating money and resources to help students in need of financial assistance.
But he’s not the only member of BTS who supports children’s right to pursue education.
In 2019, J-Hope donated almost 100 million won (approximately $85,000) to provide scholarships for low-income students at Jeonnam Girls’ Commercial High School in South Korea, according to Soompi.
3. BTS has continuously stood up against racism.
In the wake of worldwide protests against racial injustice in June 2020, BTS took action. In addition to speaking up about the harms of racism, the group made a donation of $1 million to Black Lives Matter to support racial justice initiatives.
"When we're abroad or in other situations, we've also been subjected to prejudice. We feel that prejudice should not be tolerated; it really has no place," singer Jin told Variety about the donation.
Within 25 hours of their donation, BTS fans — known collectively as ARMY — joined together to match the group’s donation, giving another $1 million to the Black Lives Matter organization.
And earlier this year, BTS made a public announcement regarding anti-Asian hate, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and xenophobic remarks and actions targeting Asian communities around the world. In a statement posted on Twitter, the group shared how racism has personally affected their lives and called for an end to ignorance and hate against people everywhere.
4. They help the most vulnerable access lifesaving health care.
The Bangtan Boys are huge proponents of helping people everywhere have access to health care, especially those who struggle to afford the treatments they need.
In honor of his 28th birthday, Suga donated the equivalent of $88,000 to Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center, which went towards paying the hospital bills of children in need of financial assistance, according to Billboard.
"I wanted to help the children, who cannot receive proper treatment because of financial hardship, and see them become healthy and bright," Suga said in a statement.
He’s not the only BTS member to inspire others to give. Last year, J-Hope donated 100 million won to help children whose families faced financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A member of ChildFund Korea’s Green Noble Club because of his frequent and generous donations to support the welfare of children, J-Hope made sure that people did not have to sacrifice the necessities when taking care of their families.
The giving nature of the boys inspired their fans to take action relating to health, too.
Since 2013, supporters of BTS from around the world have worked together to donate money and resources to support accessible health care initiatives. Some of these initiatives include donating funds to help children in Peru and Canada receive costly surgeries and comprehensive care, as well to organizations that assist kids with disabilities in Busan.
5. They don’t believe any child should be hungry.
With a global fanbase and successful marketing campaigns, BTS has been able to donate money to causes that are in desperate need of resources to save people’s lives. To this end, the group has taken it upon themselves to support several initiatives that are helping prevent children from going hungry.
In 2014, BTS teamed up with Love Food Bank to deliver food to children experiencing food insecurity in Korea. That act of love has sent ripple effects through the world, inspiring their fans to create lasting change and ease hunger for people everywhere.
💜BTS 6TH ANNIVERSARY DONATION PROJECT💜#BorahaeBundles@BTS_twt— Borahae Team ⁷ (@btsborahaeteam) June 8, 2019
Hello everyone! We have come to the end of the FoodBank project in honour of BTS’s 6th Anniv. Special thanks to those who gave us support and contributed in making the project a success! Thanks all 💜💜 pic.twitter.com/gd5FDgSBJt
In Singapore, BTS fans organized a food drive with Food Bank Singapore in honor of the band’s sixth anniversary in 2019. The group’s global fanbase ARMY also sent 128 sacks of rice to singer J-Hope’s hometown of Gwangju, as well as more than 1,540 pounds of feed to animal rights organizations.
When the group launched a collaboration with McDonald’s to produce a special BTS-themed meal in nearly 50 countries, fans used the opportunity to coordinate a special giving campaign, ShareARMeal. Following the timeline of the BTS x McDonald’s collaboration, ShareARMeal organized donations and food drives in regions around the world to ease food insecurity.
6. BTS also cares about the environment and climate change’s impact on human lives.
BTS signed on to defend the planet and defeat poverty when deciding to perform at Global Citizen Live this September, but they have long been proponents of saving the environment.
In 2019, the boys became global ambassadors of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the street racing series that uses electric cars to raise awareness about air pollution and the future of clean energy.
That care has encouraged fans to commit to individual action to help the environment. From partnering with organizations that provide relief from wildfires to planting more than 8,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest, BTS has inspired people around the world to take action against climate change.
7. They want to help people affected by crises around the world.
While all of the boys take part in philanthropic efforts, J-Hope continuously steps up to provide funding and resources to the organizations that need the most help. So it’s no surprise that earlier this year, the K-pop star donated over $89,000 to the One Stop Center in Tanzania, which assists children who were victims of violence.
"Many people around the world are suffering from COVID-19," J-Hope said in a statement, according to Soompi. "I came to support children overseas following the support of domestic children in hopes that the warmth of sharing could reach them in the nooks of the world."
Throughout the pandemic, BTS has raised awareness about the importance of protecting ourselves and others from COVID-19 in Korea and abroad. J-Hope’s understanding that global issues must be addressed in addition to domestic concerns has long inspired BTS’ fan base to help people in crisis around the world.
One of the ways the fanbase has honored the group’s giving spirit is by donating to organizations assisting with the fallout of last year’s explosion in Beirut, which killed over 200 people and caused long lasting repercussions for the city.
The dedication of the BTS members and their fans has been part of a global movement of individuals taking action on today’s most pressing issues, highlighting the change that can come about when just one person decides to stand up for what’s right.
And this September, Global Citizens everywhere can have the chance to join BTS’ mission by tuning into Global Citizen Live on Sept. 25! Find out more about Global Citizen Live and how you can join BTS to move the world — one action at a time — here.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.