Permission to Dance? BTS sing their way through United Nations

76th U.N. General Assembly
Members of the South Korean band BTS arrive at security check-in at the United Nations headquarters during the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York, U.S. September 20, 2021. John Minchillo/Pool via REUTERS

September 20, 2021

By Michelle Nichols and Roselle Chen

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Fully vaccinated South Korean band BTS danced its way through the United Nations in a Monday broadcast, promoting global goals tackling poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change ahead of the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders.

The seven-member group filmed a music video to its song ‘Permission to Dance’ in the world body’s New York headquarters over the weekend, dancing through the General Assembly hall and out into the gardens. It was broadcast during an event on the Sustainable Development Goals.

BTS – whose members declared they were all fully vaccinated against COVID-19 – also appeared in person at the event in the General Assembly, introduced by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. They are the U.N.’s Special Presidential Envoys for Future Generations and Culture.

They shared their thoughts and those of young people worldwide on the past two years and the future, expressing their frustration during the pandemic.

“I was saddened to hear that entrance and graduation ceremonies had to be canceled,” said Jeon Jung-Kook, known as Jungkook. “These are moments in life you want to celebrate and missing out on them must have been upsetting. We were heartbroken when our long planned concert tours were canceled.”

They praised the resilience of youth, saying they were not “COVID’s lost generation.”

“I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost just because paths they tread can’t be seen by grown-up eyes,” said BTS group leader Kim Nam-Joon, known as RM.

Kim Seok-Jin, known as Jin, added: “Instead of the ‘lost generation’ a more appropriate name would be the ‘welcome generation’ because instead of fearing change, this generation says ‘welcome’ and keeps forging ahead.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Roselle Chen; Editing by Mary Milliken and Richard Chang)