BTS was named by TIME magazine as «Next Generation Leaders»; Bangtan was also included in the list of the 100 most influential people in the world, a list published annually by the American magazine. Beyond its sticky rhythms and the fascinating lyrics of its songs, the boy band has become a cultural phenomenon, an inspiration to millions of people around the world, so that its voice was heard in the U-Nations Organization (UN), based in New York City.On 24 September 2018, on the occasion of the launch of the UNICEF Global Partnership «Generation Without Limits», RM (leader of BTS) gave a powerful speech at the UN General Assembly. One year away from that memorable day, the ARMY recalls the importance and effects of Kim Namjoon’s words.
Kim Namjoon minutes before his speech. Photo: Mark Garten / AFP
Using the hashtag #1YearSinceSpeakYourself, the ARMY has shared its feeling a year away that Namjoon’s message went around the world. ARMY, let us remember together RM’s memorable speech to the United Nations General Assembly: My name is Kim Namjoon, also known as RM, the leader of BTS, it is a great honor to be invited to an occasion of such importance to youth. Last November, BTS launched the «Love Myself» campaign with UNICEF, born of the belief that true love begins with loving yourself. We join UNICEF for the «END Violence» programme to protect children and young people around the world from violence. And our fans have become a big part of this campaign with their actions and enthusiasm. We really have the best fans in the world. And I’d like to start by talking about myself. I was born in Ilsan, a city near Seoul, In South Korea. It is a beautiful place with a lake, hills and even an annual floral festival. I spent a happy childhood there and I was just an ordinary kid.
I used to look up at the sky and think, and I used to dream of a child’s dreams. I used to imagine he was a superhero who could save the world.
RM was accompanied by his friends and fellow BTS colleagues during his address to the UN General Assembly. Photo: Mark Garten / AFP
In an intro from one of our first albums, there’s a line that says «my heart stopped when I was maybe nine or ten years old. Looking back, I think that’s when I started to worry about what other people thought of me and started seeing myself through their eyes.
I stopped looking up at the sky, at the stars, I stopped daydreaming, instead I was just trying to adjust to the molds that other people created. Soon, I began to silence my own voice and began to hear the voices of others.
No one called my name, and neither did I, my heart stopped and my eyes closed, so, so, so, me, we, all lost our names. I became a ghost, but I had a sanctuary, and that was the music.
There was a little voice inside me that said ‘wake up, boy, and listen to yourself.’ But it took me a long time to listen to the music, calling my real name. Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were many obstacles. Some people won’t believe it, but most people thought we had no hope and sometimes just wanted to give up. But I think I was very fortunate not to give up, I’m sure me and us will continue to stumble and fall like this. BTS have become artists who perform in those huge stadiums and sell millions of albums now, but I’m still a normal 24-year-old. If something I have achieved, it has only been possible to have the other members of BTS right next to me and thanks to the love and support that the ARMY from all over the world have given us. And, perhaps, I made a mistake yesterday, but my self from yesterday is still me. Today, I am what I am with all my flaws and my mistakes. Tomorrow, maybe I’m a little wiser, and I’ll still be me, too. These flaws and mistakes are what I am, composing the brightest stars in the constellation of my life.
I have come to love myself for who I am, for whom I was, and for whom I hope to become.
Bangtan made history at the United Nations in New York City. Photo: Craig Ruttle / AP
I would like to say one last thing, after releasing our albums ‘Love Yourself’ and releasing the ‘Love Myself’ campaign, we started hearing extraordinary stories from our fans around the world, how our message helped them overcome the difficulties in life and start loving themselves. Those stories constantly remind us of our responsibility, so let’s all take it a step further. We’ve learned to love ourselves, so now, now I ask you to speak for yourself.
I’d like to ask you all, what’s your name, what excites you and makes your heart beat? Tell me your story, I want to hear your voice and I want to hear your conviction.
BTS at the end of the RM speech. Photo: Craig Ruttle / AP
Bangtan welcomed his attendance at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: Craig Ruttle / AP
No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity, it speaks for yourself. Find your name and find your voice by speaking for yourself. I am Kim Namjoon, also RM of BTS, I am an Idol and I am an artist of a small town in Korea, as most people have made many and several mistakes in my life.
I have many flaws and many more fears, but I will hug as much as I can and I am starting to love myself little by little. What’s your name? Speak for yourself.