South Korean pop band BTS used US President Joe Biden’s invitation to the White House to denounce racism against Asian people. “It is a great honor to be invited to the White House today to speak on the important issues of hate crimes against Asians, Asian integration and diversity,” band member RM said in English at the White House on Tuesday.

“We are dismayed by the recent increase in racist crimes, including racist crimes against Asian people,” musician Jimin said in the packed White House press room. Numerous fans crowded the gates of Biden’s official residence.

“There’s nothing wrong with being different. Equality begins when we open up about our differences and own them,” said Suga, another member of the seven-piece K-pop act, which has hundreds of millions of fans worldwide.

Biden had invited BTS as part of a series of events designed to celebrate the Asian community in the US and to denounce racism against them.

The US President wanted to speak to the world’s most influential boy band about the “inclusion and representation” of Asian people, but also about “racist crimes and discrimination against Asians, which have been getting worse in recent years,” according to a statement by the White House was called.

The communications team of 79-year-old Biden, the oldest ever elected President of the United States, has been trying to reach a young audience since he entered the White House. Before BTS, for example, the singer Olivia Rodrigo and the band Jonas Brothers visited the White House.

Racially motivated crimes against people of Asian descent are common in the United States. In March 2021, a series of deadly attacks in and near the city of Atlanta, Georgia, triggered particular horror. Eight people were shot dead in three massage parlors within a short space of time. The victims were mostly of Asian descent.