BTS' RM dishes on xenophobia, masculinity, and discrimination in the music industry
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, BTS' RM expressed his stances on the prevalent issues of xenophobia, masculinity, and discrimination in the music industry. Being the first Asian act to achieve many remarkable achievements that were previously only dominated by white artists, BTS, both as a group and as individual artists, must have learned much about these issues on their path to success.
When asked about the utopian and dystopian aspects that the future of our world would face, the idol addressed the ups and downs of making history as an Asian artist in a space where non-white artists are discouraged and unwelcome. Collecting thoughts from his own experience, BTS' RM talked about these three aspects from his perspective.
BTS' RM shares his thoughts on the prevalent xenophobia and the definition of masculinity in the music industry
RM, the twenty-eight-year-old K-pop idol, stands as a rapper and the leader of the seven-member boy group that's been dominating not just the music industry but several other fields of society. ARMYs who've been following the group since their initial days of debut would be aware of the fact that the idol has always been expressive and open about the problems that the members face in the music industry.
Given the group's stance as someone who paved the way for the preceding artists to gain global exposure, BTS faced many down in light of their blinding fame. It comes as no surprise that Asian artists continue to face barriers and discouragements from breaking into fields that are largely dominated by white artists in the music industry.
With RM having experienced the same from a closer distance, when asked about the utopian and dystopian aspects of the future of our world, here's what he has to say:
This is a very serious and deep question. Now, of course, there is no utopia. There’s a light side; there’s always going to be a dark side. The way we think is that everything that we do, and our existence itself, is contributing to the hope for leaving this xenophobia, these negative things, behind.
He also adds that other budding artists would see BTS' success as a source of hope and strength for them to fight xenophobia and discrimination in the music industry.
It’s our hope, too, that people in the minority will draw some energy and strength from our existence. Yes, there’s xenophobia, but there are also a lot of people who are very accepting. The fact that we have faced success in the United States is very meaningful in and of itself.
Though BTS has unarguably taken the world by storm, many who aren't even aware of K-pop would have at least heard their name, the success in the West is quite limiting. Be it the recognition of their musical success through awards or the respect gained at white-dominated events, ARMYs have consistently pointed out that their influence and impact in the music industry were never fully recognized or appreciated.
Regardless, RM gives his fellow artists from minorities strength by stating that despite the prevalent discrimination and xenophobia in the industry, the same has been slowly breaking down. The idol challenges not just these two topics but also what it is to be a man and the associations that go along with it.
The labels of what being masculine is, is an outdated concept. It is not our intention to break it down. But if we are making a positive impact, we are very thankful. We live in an age where we shouldn’t have those labels or have those restrictions.
With yet another interview, the idol has proven himself to be the one who continues to impress the readers with his choice of words and the immense awareness he holds of the world around him.