It’s a matter of fact that BTS is one of the most influential forces in music at the moment. This is acknowledged by the members themselves, who are constantly sending messages of love, acceptance, and tolerance through their music and their actions on behalf of important causes.
A lot of people were not expecting the K-pop band to voice or even show their support towards the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests happening all over the world. But there’s a reason why BTS was chosen by UNICEF to be the faces and voices of the Love Myself Campaign and make a speech at the United Nations in 2018. Echoing the powerful message in RM’s speech back then, the band tweeted a statement in support of BLM on June 4.
“I want to hear your voice… No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself.”
We 💜 @BTS_twt‘s inspiring message to young people around the world at the UN General Assembly. #GenUnlimited #UNGA #ENDviolence #Youth2030 pic.twitter.com/kWOoSfLkiq
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) September 24, 2018
우리는 인종차별에 반대합니다.
우리는 폭력에 반대합니다.
나, 당신, 우리 모두는 존중받을 권리가 있습니다. 함께 하겠습니다.
We stand against racial discrimination.
We condemn violence.
You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together.#BlackLivesMatter
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) June 4, 2020
It didn’t take long for the media to learn about the $1 million donation made by BTS and Big Hit. Shortly after, the whole fan base started their own fundraising project, the Match a Million, in which the goal was to match BTS’s donation and raise $1 million more for BLM.
What took a lot of people by surprise was how fast they achieved the goal. It took ARMY less than 24 hours to hit the $1 million goal, and the money was directed to different organizations working on behalf of BLM.
I reached out to One In An ARMY Project to talk about the fandom’s achievement and future projects BTS ARMY are engaged in.
Can you explain the main idea behind the One in an ARMY Project and tell a little bit about how it all started?
Our motto, “I am ONE in an ARMY”, plays with the idea that many people giving small amounts can create a substantial impact when we work together. We wanted to harness our fandom’s power for good, just like BTS tries to use their influence to inspire good. It all started with this tweet that called upon the fandom to help Syrian refugees or get more involved with #EndViolence, which BTS now have their own campaign for (Love Myself).
A bunch of ARMYs came together to make this happen, and, under the course of a weekend, the whole concept of OIAA was created, together with socials and emails for contact.
How did you come up with the idea for Match A Million?
We actually didn’t. ARMY has been very vocal regarding the BLM movement once it started flaring up on social media after the death of George Floyd, and when it was confirmed that BTS had donated $1 million to the cause, voices within the fandom started saying, “Why don’t we match it?”
As soon as this fandom latches on to an idea, it spreads like wildfire. A hashtag was made, and after a short while, we were contacted (because by now, we have been somewhat established as the charity central for ARMY). We already had resources set up with the BLM carrd to which ARMYs had been donating to ever since June 1st. We also offered the split donation option through Act Blue as a means of tracking… and off it went!
Were you expecting to achieve the goal in such a short period of time?
At first, we would have been surprised if it had taken us as little as a week. But we soon realized, with the numbers ticking up so quickly, that ARMY are very determined, and they themselves also realized that if they kept it up, they’d achieve it within 24 hours. And suddenly that became the goal, and ARMY always try their best to achieve their goals. At the end of it, everyone was proud to have been able to help in such a big way, just by working together.
Is there a new goal for the Match a Million?
As soon as the $1 million was achieved, ARMY jokingly said that maybe we should just go for $2 million? But with ARMY you never know if a joke turns into a goal, or just something equally amazing.
Are there any other projects you’re working with right now?
Right now ARMY and BTS just finished celebrating FESTA, which is a 2-week-long celebration for BTS’s anniversary. We got together with over 70 fanbases to create a project to celebrate their seven years together, which we have been working on for four months. It includes fundraising of course, but also helpful games and other ways to help people in these times where COVID-19 is giving everyone a kick in the butt. You can find more info about all seven (it being their seventh anniversary) on our website.
How can people find and engage with One In An Army Projects?
We’re on all social media we could think of under the name One in an ARMY (@OneInAnARMY), We also have a YouTube.
It’s really amazing to see so many of you coming together to support #BlackLivesMatter. Thank you so much to everyone who donated, shared, used the hastag and helped by any means to make this possible! pic.twitter.com/FqUNfsWsIz
— One in an ARMY⁷ Charity Project 💜 (@OneInAnARMY) June 8, 2020
Match A Million was remarkable, and it did not go unnoticed by the media and celebrities all over the world! BTS’s greatest fans, John Cena and James Corden praised BTS and ARMY for their efforts in helping the movement and for reaching the goal so quickly.
James even prepared a special surprise as a thank-you:
One of the many reasons I respect @BTS_twt and #ARMY #ARMYMatch1M #ArmyMatchedForBLM thank you #BTS and #BTSARMY https://t.co/2XpaHR6mFP
— John Cena (@JohnCena) June 8, 2020
Hey @BTS_twt @BTSARMY_Salon @BTSARMY_INTL @BTSSWITZERLAND_ @BTSUKUNITE @BTS_ARMY @BTSW_official @btsworldwider And the whole army out there who raised so much money this weekend. Here’s a little thank you from us x x x pic.twitter.com/Zh1kYJ9Ctd
— James Corden (@JKCorden) June 9, 2020
BTS and ARMY are an amazing team, right? We can’t wait to see what else they can make happen together.