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South Korean K-pop supergroup BTS to visit Biden at the White House

WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) – South Korean supergroup BTS, a fundraising juggernaut for social justice causes in the United States, will visit the White House on Tuesday to discuss hate crimes targeting Asians with U.S. President Joe Biden.

“Biden and BTS will also discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion and BTS’ platform as youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world,” the White House said last week in announcing the visit.

The meeting comes as May’s recognition of Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander month comes to a close amid a sharp upswing in hate crimes against Asian Americans in the past year.

Attacks against people of Asian descent have escalated as some politicians and pundits have encouraged Americans to blame China for COVID-19, amid other tensions.

The boy band’s meeting with Biden will be closed to media organizations. A White House official said BTS members will deliver brief remarks at the beginning of the White House daily news briefing.

The K-pop stars are known for using their lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering youngsters since making their debut in 2013. Their fan base extends into older demographics, tying their spending clout to a generation that is internet-savvy and able to harness the power of social media.

In June 2020, the group’s fans put their energy behind an online campaign called #MatchAMillion to raise money for social justice causes in the United States. It hauled in $1 million in roughly one day, matching the donation of the band itself to Black Lives Matter.

The group’s management Big Hit Music said it was honored to be invited to the White House.

“As we are visiting as artists representing South Korea, we look forward to discussing various topics including inclusion, diversity, anti-Asian hate crimes, culture and art,” Big Hit Music said.

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