Bts

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“This is a very serious & deep question,” says RM, the 26-year-old leader of the world’s biggest bvà. He pauses to lớn think. We’re talking about utopian & dystopian futures, about how the boundary-smashing, hegemony-overturning global success of his group, the wildly talented seven-member South Korean juggernaut BTS, feels lượt thích a glimpse of a new and better world, of an interconnected 21st century actually living up to its promise.

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BTS’ downright magical levels of charisma, their genre-defying, sleek-but-personal music, even their casually nontoxic, skin-care-intensive sầu br& of masculinity — every bit of it feels like a visitation from some brighter, more hopeful timeline. What RM is currently pondering, however, is how all of it contrasts with a darker landscape all around them, particularly the horrifying recent wave of anti-Asian violence & discrimination across a global diaspora.

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“We are outliers,” says RM, “and we came inkhổng lồ the American music market và enjoyed this incredible success.” In 20trăng tròn, seven years inkhổng lồ their career, BTS’ first English-language single, the irresistible “Dynamite,” hit Number One, an achievement so singular it prompted a congratulatory statement from South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in. The nation has long been deeply invested in its outsize cultural success beyond its borders, known as the Korean Wave sầu.


“Now, of course, there is no utopia,” RM continues. “There’s a light side; there’s always going to lớn be a dark side. The way we think is that everything that we vày, và our existence itself, is contributing to lớn the hope for leaving this xenophobia, these negative sầu things, behind. It’s our hope, too, that people in the minority will draw some energy and strength from our existence. Yes, there’s xenophobia, but there are also a lot of people who are very accepting. . . . The fact that we have faced success in the United States is very meaningful in & of itself.”

At the moment, RM is in an acoustically treated room at his label’s headquarters in Seoul, wearing a Trắng medical mask khổng lồ protect a nearby translator, a blachồng bucket hat, and a blaông xã hoodie from the Los Angeles luxury label Fear of God. As RM has had khổng lồ explain too many times on U.S. talk shows, he taught himself his fluent English via bingeing Friends DVDs. Still, he makes understandable use of the interpreter when the conversation gets complex.


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