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BTS fans raise US$1m for Black Lives Matter movement
FANS of the K-pop boy band BTS have raised more than US$1 million for Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives and more than a dozen other civil rights and advocacy organisations, a fan group said, as protests against police brutality and systemic racism continued worldwide.
The fundraising push began on June 1 as outrage spread over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.
Donations accelerated after Variety reported last Saturday that BTS and its record label had made a US$1 million donation to Black Lives Matter, according to the fan group. The group rallied BTS fans using the Twitter hashtag #MatchAMillion.
"We have run big projects before, but the amount of support for this project is overwhelming," the fan group, known as One in an Army, said in a statement.
The group also said people should vote in local and state elections and call on politicians to fight racism.
"We encourage Army 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," the group said.
In a statement to Variety, Kailee Scales, the managing director for Black Lives Matter, said the group was "moved by the generosity of BTS and allies all over the world who stand in solidarity in the fight for Black lives".
Black Lives Matter and One in an Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for BTS confirmed the US$1 million donation to Black Lives Matter, but declined to comment further.
BTS is one of the most popular pop groups in the world. Last year, the music video for its song "Boy With Luv" generated 74.6 million views in 24 hours on YouTube, a record.
On June 4, BTS said on Twitter that the band stood "against racial discrimination". "You, I and we all have the right to be respected," BTS said. "We will stand together."
Recent news reports have highlighted K-pop fans' advocacy around recent protests, bolstered by a huge network on social media.
After the Dallas Police Department asked people to send videos of "illegal activity from the protests" to a special app, they were inundated with videos and gifs of K-pop stars. Similar scenarios played out in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Kirkland, Washington, Vanity Fair reported.
Other celebrity musicians have also donated money after Floyd's death.
CNN reported that rapper Kanye West donated US$2 million to support the families of Floyd, as well as Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was pursued by armed white residents and killed in a coastal South Georgia neighbourhood in February.
The money will also to the family of Breonna Taylor, an African-American medical worker in Louisville, Kentucky, who was killed by police in March. NYTIMES