ARMY Matches BTS’ $1M Donation to Black Lives Matter in 24 Hours
In a little over 24 hours, the most powerful fandom in the world shows what they can achieve when they come together for a cause.
Update 7:12 pm PST (June 7)— See press release from One In An ARMY here
Update 3:30 am PST (June 8) — OIAA estimates total fundraising time to be closer to 26 hours (TBD).
Three days after BTS spoke out against racial discrimination through a statement on Twitter, it was announced on June 6 that the group and its agency Big Hit Entertainment donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter.
The band has a history of raising their voice on social issues, and their influence over the years has resulted in the creation of a fandom, ARMY, that knows how to use its power for good.
Upon the news of the donation, ARMY followed BTS’ lead and were inspired to take even bigger action on their own.
Fans were on a mission to match the group’s $1 million donation, and hours later, #MatchAMillion started trending worldwide on Twitter as many were spreading the word about this special fundraising project.
It’s no doubt that when ARMYs set a goal, they work hard to achieve it. This was no different.
And in a little over 24 hours after the fundraiser began, they indeed raised more than $1 million.
People were encouraged to donate through a carrd created by One In An ARMY (OIAA), “a fan collective of volunteers around the globe.” Through the carrd, donors could select the “split donation” option that allowed the donations to be tracked.
Since the effort driven by OIAA began, the hashtag #MatchAMillion has garnered more than 490,000 tweets. The hashtag #MatchTheMillion was also created the following day so the topic could trend again on Twitter.
Fans also got the attention of people outside of the fandom who joined in and donated as well.
Timeline of #MatchAMillion / #MatchTheMillion (June 6–7, PST):
- 5 hours prior to the news of BTS’ donation, ARMY had already raised over $50,000 through OIAA’s carrd. *Note: Not all ARMYs used this specific platform to donate, so the overall total from the fandom was/is likely more than what is reported. (source)
- 7:33 pm — $187,000+ raised (source)
- 8:36 pm — $236,000+ raised (source)
- 4:41 am — Donations surpass halfway mark of over $500,000 (source)
- 8:44 am — $600,000+ raised (source)
- 11:30 am — $700,000+ raised (source)
- 2:21 pm — $800,000+ raised (source)
- 4:25 pm — $900,000+ raised (source)
- 5:47 pm —Goal met and over $1 million raised (source)
“Big Fandom. Big Difference.” — OIAA
While people may think this is a new and unique phenomenon, this is not uncommon for the fandom. They are highly collaborative, systematic and organized, especially on Twitter where they are most active and visible. And following the lead of their idols, BTS, fighting for important causes is something the fandom values.
According to OIAA’s website, between April 2018 to June 2019, ARMY helped raise more than $46,000 to support many different causes. Take a look at OIAA’s charity projects map that pinpoints more than 600 of these activities by fans around the world.
Recently, ARMY and fans of other Korean / K-pop groups have gained attention and lots of praise from the general public for their support of Black Lives Matter, especially as they have taken over racist hashtags and police department apps with fancams. (Learn more)
But their efforts extend far beyond these fancams. Fans around the world have been raising awareness on the issue even before BTS’ statement, signing and promoting petitions, donating, educating each other, and engaging in meaningful conversations.
Fans show that they have compassion, the power, and the drive to make a change. While their others may not share the same music taste, it’s about time people start paying attention to this side of fandom and giving fans a little more credit for the positive impact they have been making on the world and in our society.
Although they already reached their $1 million goal, ARMYs have no plan on stopping just yet.
According to OIAA, donations will go towards funding bailouts for those arrested for protesting police brutality, black-led advocacy organizations fighting against systemic injustice, and support for the physical and mental health of the black community.
Donations will also be split between the following organizations:
- Black Lives Matter Global Network
- Reclaim the Block
- National Bail Out
- Black Visions Collective
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
- Advancement Project
- The Marshall Project
- Movement for Black Lives
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Unicorn Riot
- Brave Space Alliance
- Black AIDS Institute
- Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project
See initial Twitter activity of people all over the world spreading the word on #MatchAMillion:
Updated 24-hour Twitter activity map of ARMYs spreading the word using #MatchAMillion & #MatchTheMillion:
Note: Article written at 6:00 pm PST on June 7.
About the author:
Nicole K. Santero is a PhD student studying sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her current research examines the culture and social organization / structure of the BTS ARMY fandom. She also uses data analytics and visualization to find meanings in fan relationships and interactions, and to showcase the power and impact of ARMY. The goal of this Medium blog is serve as an archive of significant moments by BTS and ARMY that may not be reported in the media. Twitter: ResearchBTS