Last week, South Korean superstars BTS declared their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, releasing a statement specifying that they "stand against racial discrimination" and "condemn violence." Now, the seven Bangtan boys — Jin, Jimin, RM, Jungkook, J-Hope, Suga, and V — are putting their money where their tweets are.
Last week, BTS and their label, Big Hit Entertainment, quietly donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter, Variety reported on Saturday (June 6). The move came as demonstrations around the globe continue, protesting systemic racism and police brutality against the Black community in the United States, particularly, in the wake of the murders of unarmed Black citizens George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many others. While the group did not publicly comment on the donation, the contribution was confirmed by both Big Hit and Black Lives Matter.
“Black people all over the world are in pain at this moment from the trauma of centuries of oppression," Black Lives Matter Managing Director Kailee Scales told Variety. "We are moved by the generosity of BTS and allies all over the world who stand in solidarity in the fight for Black lives.”
That same day, BTS fans — or ARMY, as they are known within the fandom — pledged to match the donation. The volunteer-based, fan-operated collective One in an ARMY, which organizes monthly charity programs, set the goal on Saturday, which was proliferated across social media via the hashtag #MatchAMillion, coined by Twitter user @Monosplaylist. The group set up a carrd through tech nonprofit ActBlue that included a list of 16 vetted organizations that help Black people and advocate against police brutality. Fans could choose to split their contribution across those organizations, which included Color of Change and Black Visions Collective.
By Sunday evening, OIAA had exceeded their goal, thanks to contributions from over 35,000 donors. They shared the news via Twitter: "Just like BTS, we were able to donate 1M dollars to help fund: bailouts for those arrested for protesting police brutality, black-led advocacy orgs fighting against systemic injustice, support for the physical and mental health of the black community."
"We added a goal tracker to our donation page and our website purely to keep ARMY updated on the total amount raised. We’ve run big projects before, but the amount of support for this project is overwhelming,” an OIAA spokesperson said in a press release, per Teen Vogue. "We truly didn’t know whether the goal would be reached. We’re so proud that ARMY have once again channeled their power for good and are making a real impact in the fight against anti-black racism."
But combatting racism is ongoing work, so the Black Lives Matter will remain on OIAA's website permanently. As of this publishing, the fundraiser had reached $1,216,909 from 39,036 donors. That donation page also includes the full list of organizations with information about each, while encouraging fans to "continue educating themselves on the history of anti-black racism in the United States as well as anti-black racism that occurs in your own country."
"Black Lives Matter isn’t something that has a time limit. It’s a belief everyone needs to carry in their everyday lives," the OIAA spokesperson added. "We stand in solidarity with black ARMY. They’re an important part of our family. And we stand with black people everywhere. Your voices deserve to be heard.”