On 14th December, BTS received an award for “Artist of the Year” (also known as Daesang) at 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards. As reported by Elite Daily,
“Throughout the night, the boys won the awards for Mwave Global Choice, Best Asian Style, TikTok Best Music Video for “IDOL,” and Album of the Year for Love Yourself: Tear.”
The event was momentous as it was the third time when the group was receiving the honor. But as the boys took their turns to express their thoughts and pay their gratitude, the jolly moments for ARMYs soon turned into something grave and even eye-opening. J-Hope was the first one to take the MIC. Known as the “sunshine” of the group, fans expected a jovial address but within a few minutes into his speech, the artist burst into tears. Soon, everyone followed the suit.
— like pinned (136 needed) (@goIdenstae) December 14, 2018
J-Hope shared his desire to perform well for the fans but at the same time, hinted at the hardships the group has gone through over the past year.
ARMY, I worried a lot before coming here. I want to show you our best all the time without any mistakes so we always prepare the stage with worried hearts. This award… I would’ve cried today no matter if we won this award or not. I wanted to repay because we worked so hard and received so much love from you guys. Thank you so so much and I want to say thanks to the members who are together with me at this moment. Thank you. I love you.
Next in line was Jimin who too talked about the tough times. Attributing ARMYs as his “pride”, the Serendipity hitmaker went on to share his reflection on the support BTS have received from different people. Taking a moment to look back and introspect, he appreciated the outpour of love BTS have been receiving from fans and other people. Expressing his sincere gratitude to the ARMYs, he promised fans that the group will return next year for the same award.
Taehyung and Suga followed Jimin to convey their regards to the fans and the families of the other members. What started with J-Hope’s speech turned into a snowball effect, culminating with Jin’s words as the eldest member revealed that at the beginning of the year, the group was struggling mentally which made the boys to even think about “disbanding”. Eventually, they “got hold of themselves” and worked together to overcome their problems.
I remember early this year. We were mentally struggling at the beginning of the year. While talking amongst ourselves, we even considered disbanding. I think it’s so fortunate that we got ourselves together and was able to bring good outcomes. I want to thank my members who helped me get myself together and the ARMYs who love us.
Accepting that the group which became one of the biggest influencers in the year 2018, would have disbanded had boys not taken a chance to overcome their issues, is no small feat. We often say that the first step towards healing is the acceptance that one is going through a problem. But from a commercial point of view, the same acceptance might hurt a brand. “Vulnerability” has never been an appreciated trait in the market but Jin’s words showed that one’s health is always a priority over one’s wealth. Also, his words were not just addressed to his fans but also to people who thought that BTS’ success has been a smooth ride.
Here are a few reasons as to why Jin’s speech is significant.
Firstly, we should acknowledge the courage the boys had, to put their mental health first, especially at the peak of their career. Secondly, the decision to “face” the problem showed the amount of trust they have developed for each other and themselves. They took a chance and pulled through. With hit albums, sold-out stadium tours, an attendance at the United Nations, and several breakthrough moments, 2018 will be one of the glorious years for BTS. With singles like “IDOL”, “Love Myself” and “Epiphany”, it became pretty clear that once they started embracing the challenge, they also starting appreciating themselves.
But thirdly, Jin’s account also went on to show the amount of pressure these seven young men had been feeling. It was not “fame” that took the mental toll but the “expectations” of people who wanted the group to justify their success. Coming from a place where the group was considered an underdog to becoming the artists surpassing some of the biggest stars in the western music industry, a constant pressure to continue the trail was quite evident. Suga had once shared that he was worried if the group will be able to surpass itself and produce more “good” songs.
Adding to this pressure was the constant scrutiny by the media and people who wanted to know minute by minute activity of the boys. Mobbing at airports was just one example that showed how people, in their bid to grab the boys’ attention, ended up dehumanizing them as “objects”.
The hardships on which the members shed some light are not merely limited to BTS. Celebrities are often reduced to a “product” that we as end-buyers consume. What appears in front of the screen is only one aspect of the person. What people forget is the “human” behind the image who is as worrisome, as clumsy, as anxious, as jovial, and as enthusiastic as we are, in our daily lives. The only difference is the “scale”.
Ironically, it is this “scale” that makes it easier for us to distance these figures and share our judgment, without taking their situation into consideration. How difficult it is to imagine and understand that these “popular” figures are under the scrutiny of millions of people, every day?
BTS’ message of “Love Yourself” and “Speak Yourself” stands true, especially after their own confessions. The boys have always been open about their hardships with the ARMYs but there is a lot that goes behind the screen. We as human beings need to understand that besides the commercial aspect that goes into creating arts, someone’s hard work and passion becomes the driving force that actually helps in producing the art in the first place. We need to respect the latter and learn to draw the line.
Post their acceptance speech, ARMYs took on Twitter to express their gratitude to the boys for staying together and not disbanding. Using #ThankYouBTS and #ThankYouBTSforStaying, ARMYs shared how the group has helped them overcome their problems and why their music matter.
Consuming arts is a choice and we all need constructive criticism to make a good one. But at the same time, we need to learn the extent to which we can scrutinize the artist’s life. Until and unless, someone is harming society (which definitely needs to be condemned), it’s not right on our part to go about sharing our “opinions” on someone’s personal choices.
We have our own lives to take care of so, what harm will it do if we are a tad bit kind to others?
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