Biden set to welcome K-pop group BTS to White House to 'address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination'

Biden set to welcome K-pop group BTS to White House to 'address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination'
The K-pop boy band BTS visits the Today Show in New York City on February 21, 2020.Cindy Ord/WireImage
  • Biden is set to welcome K-pop boy band BTS to the White House on May 31.
  • They will discuss "Asian inclusion and representation" as well as anti-Asian hate crimes.

President Joe Biden will host K-pop group BTS at the White House on Tuesday, May 31, the conclusion of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The White House announced on Thursday that Biden would welcome the group to discuss "Asian inclusion and representation" as well as "to address anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination which have become more prominent issues in recent years."

The White House added that Biden will "discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion" with the group, as well as the South Korean boy band's "platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world."

The 7-member group — also known as "Bangtan Boys," "Bangtan Sonyeondan," or "Beyond the Scene" — are the best-selling musical group in South Korean history and have developed a strong following in the US.

Biden issued a proclamation late last month on AANHPI Heritage Month, touting the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders to the country's history and culture. In addition to touting his selection of Kamala Harris as his Vice President and Katherine Tai as Permanent Trade Representative, Biden noted the recent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.


"We cannot allow these horrific acts to continue threatening the safety of AA and NHPI Americans — especially women, girls, and the elderly," said Biden. "These acts are wrong; they are un-American; and they must stop."

A report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found that such hate crimes rose 339% last year over 2020. That's a substantial jump from the 124% increase in 2020 over 2019.

In response, Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in May 2021, which directed the Department of Justice to expedite the review of coronavirus-related hate crimes, provide guidance to state and local governments to improve public reporting on hate crimes, and raise awareness about hate crimes during the public-health crisis.