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The mobilizing power of the BTS ARMY
BTS, the South Korean supergroup, is known for churning out hits and energizing a growing global fan base.
Early in June, those fans - collectively called ARMY - put their energy behind an online campaign called #MatchAMillion to raise money for social justice causes in the United States. It hauled in $1 million in roughly one day, matching the donation of the band itself to Black Lives Matter.
This accomplishment, ARMY members say, shows that being a fan of BTS is about more than buying records. It also illustrates how the fan base extends into older demographics, tying their spending clout to a generation that is internet-savvy and able to harness the power of social media.
“We’re buying cars and selling out stadiums; you can’t just do that with some overexcited girls,” said Erika Overton, 40, one of the administrators of One In An ARMY, the fan group that organised the #MatchAMillion fundraising effort. “This is not just a fan group to enjoy music – it’s an economic force, and something you can’t really dismiss as something trivial.”
Some Black ARMY members say BTS has a responsibility to continue publicly supporting the racial justice protests that affect them. And BTS has also publicly acknowledged their music is based on hip-hop and R&B – genres that were created and popularised by Black American artists.
- by Associated Press