Review: BTS’ Monumental Speech at the Launch of the “Generation Unlimited”
The most awaited event, the United Nations “Youth 2030”, was held to launch the “Generation Unlimited” program at the UN headquarters in New York City on Monday at noon. As it was previous reported, the “Generation Unlimited” program’s objective is to provide the future generation the essential needs to encourage success, stability and growth in their lives like providing good quality education, training or employment opportunities. The program was officially launched in front of world leaders, delegates, and the world.
António Guterres (United Nations Secretary-General), Paul Kagame (President of Rwanda), Jim Yong Kim (World Bank Group President), Ms. Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union), Henrietta Fore (UNICEF Executive Director), Jayathma Wickramanayake (United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth), Paul Polman (Unilever CEO), Lilly Singh (UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador), and many other representatives conveyed about the different issues that the youth face and the willingness to provide a bright future to the youth.
But, there was one group which I was anticipating because of how some people on social media questioned their involvement in this launch. Yes, it is the speech from global artists BTS who attended the launch of the global program. I am sure everyone including the fans, the journalists, the citizens of South Korea, the Government of South Korea etc. were waiting for this moment with anticipation for what BTS had to say.
The fandom (ARMY) was excited and felt proud to see the gentlemen in such an important event. Since my previous article was on why BTS deserved to be a part of this global program, in this article, I will review their attendance and how they presented themselves in front of the global leaders and the world.
First, it was remarkable to see BTS being officially involved in this launch with high profile leaders. It was no doubt a chilling moment for the septet to be invited in the “Generation Unlimited” initiative. The boys were well composed, and you can sense that they were nervous which is a natural feeling. It was also endearing to see Mr. Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank Group President, giving a “shout out” to BTS in his speech (I bet the young men gained some motivation when Mr. Jim Yong Kim payed his respect to them).
The BTS’ Speech
Mr. Kim Namjoon (RM), being the leader of BTS, was given the honor to speak. You can watch the full speech above or read it here.
I was amazed with RM as he gracefully made such an emotional and inspirational speech. To explain my amazement, let me present my perceptions and the crucial key elements that I deduced from his speech. My analysis is below:
Understanding the Depth behind the BTS’ Speech
The “Love Myself” Campaign
RM politely introduced himself and the group and expressed how honored they were to speak in an occasion which is about the young generation.
RM briefly mentioned about the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF which was launched last year to protect the youth and children from violence.
It was important to comment about the campaign to point out how they have been helping the young people with UNICEF and how it connects their beliefs with the principles of the “Generation Unlimited”. This again, as I previous stated in my previous article, proves that BTS was worthy to be a part of “Youth 2030”.
Appreciation to the ARMY
I was not surprised to hear RM acknowledging the ARMY fans. He expressed his affection for the fans by saying that the fans have been a major part of the “Love Myself” campaign.
It is true that the Love Yourself album series and “Love Myself” campaign were launched because they wanted to give back to their fans. The passion and enthusiasm of the fandom always gives BTS strength and energy. Mentioning the fans shows the pure bond between BTS and ARMY.
Dreams and Pain
RM then talked about his hometown and his childhood. As a young boy, he would look at the night sky and would dream. He imagined that he was “a superhero, saving the world”.
But then, his heart stopped at the age of nine or ten. His tone started to sound painful as he explained how he stopped dreaming. How he had to change himself because he feared of what other people would think of him.
Listening to this part made me feel emotional. Because of people’s expectations, judgements and outlook, RM shut his voice, his eyes and his dreams. As he said, “No one called out my name, and neither did I”. Eventually, he and the other members lost their names, and all became ghosts.
It really aches me because we all used to dream as children. We all had innocent dreams and wishes. As we grew older, reality hit us and our beautiful dreams got shattered because of the cruel world. BTS faced the same issues which we all faced. We would follow and listen to what people and society wants us to be. We stopped listening to our hearts and stopped thinking of what we want. It is a cruel reality and RM pointed out a critical problem here which every youth out there is still facing.
RM next said that music enforced him to wake up. He admitted that it took a while, but it eventually compelled him to listen to himself.
Music has always been the vitality and sanctuary for BTS. Music was the tool to raise their voices and express themselves with full freedom. It was clear that music was meant to make them alive again. Music was the way towards their dreams.
Obstacles and The Will to Fight
RM then spoke briefly about their debut time and the obstacles they faced. Now, if we look at BTS’ history, their ‘debut era” wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. They were mocked, harassed and ridiculed by the Korean music industry and other artists because of their concepts and ideas. Their talents were questioned and were called “hopeless”. It was a stressful time for BTS as RM said that he sometimes wanted to quit and give up.
But, they kept moving forward and achieved things which any artist would fantasize about. RM admitted that he is just a 24-year-old ordinary guy and everything that he achieved was because the other BTS’ members were at his side. And of course, the love and support of the fans also helped in making BTS’ and RM’s dreams come true.
RM said that he accepted who he is. The faults made him who he is today. He also hoped, “I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too”. He embraced his faults and mistakes and learned to love himself. He compared his faults and mistakes to the constellation of his life which is poetic to me.
The message of self-embrace was focused throughout BTS’ album series Love Yourself and the campaign “Love Myself”. Again, emphasizing on those two words illustrates that BTS has accepted themselves who they are and how much it means to them. Loving yourself is a tough long journey but the result is worth it.
Connection with BTS’ Songs
At first, I didn’t notice but later I realized that some parts in the speech are associated to songs BTS have previously released.
“I was a superhero” links with “Anpanman” and “Jump”. “There were hurdles” reminded me of the soothing and sentimental “Sea”. RM himself referred “My heart stopped…I was maybe nine or ten” which is the intro song from O!RUL8,2? (one of their early albums). The “mistakes are what I am” and “I have come to love myself” parts match with the positive messages inside “Answer: Love Myself”. “I’m a hip-hop idol and an artist” can also be connected to their latest song “IDOL”. “No one called out my name” does remind me of the heartbreaking song “Whalien 52”.
All the songs I mentioned are songs with strong messages and it is interesting to see the lyrics of those songs being reflected in his speech.
Next, RM kept reassuring everyone, especially the youth to speak up for themselves. He said that he had heard stories from ARMY fans around the world. As RM said, “how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves. These stories constantly remind us of our responsibility.”
It is true that the messages and lyrics in their music and concepts help fans of all ages. Their songs talk about the struggles of the youth, mental health issues, empowerment, depression, and real-life struggles which every individual experience. It is thanks to BTS that their fans managed to overcome their own difficulties in life and have embraced themselves. The stories of the ARMY fans indeed are a constant reminder for BTS about their responsibilities and roles.
RM advised everyone to take a step forward. They all learned to love themselves, so he urged to “speak yourself”. He then requested the following questions:
“What is your name?”
‘What excites you and makes your heart beat?”
These are two great questions being asked. BTS wants everyone to see their true identities and wants them to listen to their hearts. BTS wants them to recognize their passions and dreams which make them feel alive.
RM encouraged the youth to speak up no matter who you are. BTS believes in human equality and for them, all youth is equal to them irrespective of who they are, their gender or their skin color.
He wished to hear the voice of every young person around the world. The fact that BTS wants to listen to the stories and convictions of every youth out there is a beautiful gesture. RM reinvigorated everyone to find their voices and speak up so that they and the world can listen to their stories.
The conclusion is very thought provoking because RM’s sentences match to the BTS’ messages they carry and the questions he asked. Let me show you how:
RM concluded by announcing who he is (“What’s your Name”). He admitted that he made mistakes in his life and is going to “embrace himself” as hard as he can (“Love Yourself”). He also said that he had come to love himself (“Love Myself”).
In the end, he ended the speech saying, “What is your name? Speak Yourself!”
This demonstrates how much BTS wants us to raise our voices and find our identifies and names. As I said previously above that they are willing to listen to the voices of the youth. They don’t want the youth to become ghosts. They don’t want the youth to shut their eyes, their hearts and dreams. They want the lifeless youth to be revived.
BTS exceeded our expectations in the “Generation Unlimited” launch. RM’s eloquent speech gives life and hope to the youth and normal people of today. He kept using key small sentences like “speak yourself”, “find your name”, and “find your voice”. This is significant because we all lack someone who listens and understands us. Since the youth is the future generation, it is no doubt essential for the youth to stand up. They should not get their cries be suppressed and should seek their true passions, dreams and identities. This is the message of empowerment from BTS to the dreamers, the hopeless and the suppressed.
While the speech was addressing the youth, the messages which RM conveyed are very important self reflective questions for all ages at every stage of their lives.
What these seven gentlemen are achieving (with their beliefs and morals), what they stand for, and what they are doing for the youth is worthy to be proud of.
What’s Next for BTS?
To answer this question, I guess the answer lies in the tweet below from the “UN Youth Envoy”. If this tweet indicates anything, it seems like BTS has been appointed as the Goodwill Ambassadors for the “Generation United”.
Overall, I am excited. What is in store for BTS in the future? To watch the full UN “Youth 2030” ceremony, go watch at the official UNICEF channel here.