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K-pop stars BTS share experience with racism, condemn anti-Asian violence

The pop superstars shared a statement detailing their experiences with racism and calling for a stop to anti-Asian violence, which has risen during the pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

The South Korean stars of one of the world's most popular bands have shared their experiences with racism while calling for a stop to anti-Asian violence.

K-pop superstars BTS released a statement on Twitter Monday night in which they said they feel "grief and anger" over the rise in anti-Asian racism and violence, while also detailing detailed some of their own experiences with it.

Image: Today - Season 69
The K-pop boy band BTS has issued a statement condemning anti-Asian violence and sharing their own experiences with discrimination. Nathan Congleton / TODAY

"We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians," the seven-member boy band wrote. "We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English.

"We cannot put into words the pain of becoming the subject of hatred and violence for such a reason. Our own experiences are inconsequential compared to the events that have occurred over the past few weeks. But these experiences were enough to make us feel powerless and chip away our self-esteem."

Anti-Asian hate incidents have risen during the pandemic, with nearly 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents reported to Stop AAPI Hate between March 2020 and February 2021.

Only hours before BTS released their statement, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked outside a New York City apartment building on Monday morning as staff appeared to watch the attack without helping her, according to police surveillance footage.

The BTS members called for an end to the violence and discrimination with the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate.

"What is happening right now cannot be disassociated from our identity as Asians," the group said in the statement. "It required considerable time for us to discuss this carefully and we contemplated deeply on how we should voice our message.

"But what our voice must convey is clear. We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together."

The members of BTS are the latest prominent voices to speak out against AAPI violence and hate incidents.

Olivia Munn, Sandra Oh, Daniel Dae Kim and Joanna Gaines all condemned the violence in the wake of a series of shootings earlier this month at three Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent. Over the weekend, "Saturday Night Live" cast member Bowen Yang delivered an emotional speech about the anti-Asian violence, calling on people to "do more."