BTS fans match K-pop band’s US$1 mil donation to fight racism

South Korean boy band BTS at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AFP pic)

SEOUL: Fans of K-pop megastars BTS raised and donated US$1 million to the Black Lives Matter movement, matching the septet’s donation of the same amount within 24 hours, organisers said Monday.

The band’s managers Big Hit Entertainment said at the weekend that they and BTS — currently one of the biggest acts in the world — had jointly donated US$1 million to the ongoing anti-racism movement in the US and beyond, triggered by the death in police custody of an unarmed black man as an officer knelt on his neck.

“We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence,” BTS tweeted last week, which has since been retweeted around one million times.

The Big Hit announcement soon sparked a #MatchAMillion hashtag trending worldwide on Twitter, with a set of BTS fans — One in an Army — setting up an online donation project for the cause.

On Monday morning, One in an Army announced they had raised just over $1 million from nearly 35,000 donors.

“Just like BTS, we were able to donate 1M dollars to help fund bailouts for those arrested for protesting police brutality,” and support black-led advocacy groups, among others, they said on Twitter.

None of the fan group’s organisers are South Korean, according to their website, with most from Europe or North America.

The announcement follows a recent online effort by K-pop fans to take over the controversial #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag, often used by those who criticise the anti-racism protesters, by posting the tag along with videos and images of their favourite singers.

BTS — or Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts — are the first K-pop group to top charts in the United States and Britain with a string of sold-out shows in Los Angeles, Paris and London’s Wembley Stadium.

“I am from London. My mom had to deal with racism all her life,” wrote one black BTS fan.

“I’m absolutely proud to tell her the group that… I adore, support and stand with us.”