The South Korean boy band BTS made history when the seven-member group was the first-ever K-pop musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. The group has a massive worldwide fan following called ARMY, despite never recording a song completely in English. They’ve also become heroes of the healthy masculinity movement. Here are seven things to know about this sensational septet.
1. They inspire their ARMY of teen fans with their gender norm busting fashion choices—sporting skirts, makeup, brightly colored hair, jeweled chokers, handbags, and more.
2. They include gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them” in their song “Serendipity.” “The lyrics were based on rare and special things in life….those things transcend genders, cultures, and barriers between people.”
3. They deliberately changed the lyrics to their song “Fake Love” when they performed at the Billboard Music Awards because the Korean word for “I” sounds like the n-word in English, and they wanted to be sure that they didn’t unintentionally offend listeners who might misinterpret the word.
4. After facing criticism in their early years for being sexist and misogynist, they openly acknowledge their willingness to grow and learn from their shortcomings, even now consulting with feminist lecturers for their lyrics. “Through self-review and discussion, we’ve learned that we can’t be free of societal prejudices and mistakes … things that are seen and learned in society … Please continue to watch BTS grow, and if you would continue to point out our shortcomings, we will continue to work hard.”
5. They spoke before the United Nations encouraging young people to live their truths and love themselves as part of their “Love Myself” campaign.
6. They hold two Guinness Book of World Records: one for the most engaging tweet and one for the most video views in 24 hours (dethroning Harry Styles and Taylor Swift).
7. Mattel has released a line of gender-fluid dolls based on the BTS members.
BONUS (and K-pop related fact): on the same weekend that BTS appeared on SNL, the first female K-pop band Blackpink performed a 13 song set at the Coachella Music Festival outside of Palm Springs, California.