TACOMA, Washington — K-pop, short for Korean pop, is a genre of music that includes girl and boy bands from South Korea. It features unparalleled choreography and vibrant performances. Among the most popular groups are Blackpink, EXO, Twice and BTS. K-pop stars and their fans have also contributed to international philanthropic efforts.
5 Times K-pop Helped Fight Global Poverty
- BTS Songs Address Societal Issues. BTS is one of the few groups that address and tackle societal issues through its songs in an industry where political disengagement is encouraged. In its song “Not Today,” the group sings to empower “the underdogs of the world.” Additionally, in the song “Baepsae,” BTS addresses the generational wealth disparity in South Korea.
- Wanna One’s Kang Daniel. Kang Daniel is a member of the K-pop boy band Wanna One. Daniel donated 12.1 million won to the Miral Welfare Foundation, an organization that works to integrate those with disabilities into society. His donations helped pay for medical bills and living expenses for children with disabilities. He also took part in Elle Magazine’s Tree Plant project. The proceeds collected went towards planting trees to develop a forest near Incheon, a South Korean city.
- BTS and the United Nations. In September 2018, BTS became the first K-pop group to address the United Nations. BTS member, Jin, is also a part of UNICEF’s Honor Club, a group whose membership requirement is donations exceeding 100 million won ($84,000). Additionally, BTS has worked with UNICEF Korea on the #LoveMyself campaign to raise awareness about violence against children and young people globally. UNICEF set up #ENDviolence booths during the BTS world tour concerts in countries such as Japan, Canada, the U.S. and Germany. BTS fans also contributed greatly to UNICEF’s collaboration with Star Wars on the Force for Change campaign. The Star Wars franchise pledged to match up to $1 million in donations and met this goal in just two days.
- Block B Fans Builds A Well. Block B is another K-pop boy band whose fans came together for a philanthropic cause. In 2015, to celebrate Block B’s fourth anniversary, the group’s fan club raised money to build a well near Siem Reap, Cambodia. The well was placed in a poverty-stricken area with little access to clean water.
- Big Bang’s Seungri. Seungri is part of the popular K-pop boy band, Big Bang. Seungri donated $100 million won to the Green Umbrella Child Fund Korea, a global agency specializing in child welfare that assists poor families struggling to survive and raise children. He also volunteered to deliver briquettes to low-income families that need them for heat. Seungri also donated $100 million won to the Seungil Hope Foundation. The money went towards building South Korea’s first hospital that treats patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease. This condition gained notoriety through the ALS ice bucket challenge in 2014.
With dedicated fan bases and an international influence, K-pop groups continue to contribute to philanthropic causes. From building wells to donating money, these humanitarian celebrities are helping fight global poverty.
– Mizuki Kai