What BTS’s BBMA Win Means
The presenters of the award for ‘Best Social Artist’ walked on stage.
“Shawn Mendes.” they began listing out the nominees.
“BTS.” they announced and ‘Blood, Sweat, and Tears’ filled the arena.
I remember the first time I listened to BTS. Last year, the summer before my senior year in high school. I watched the then unfamiliar ‘bighit’ intro that opened into a cloudy day that reflected the July rains in Bangalore. Seven boys sang and danced in coordination to an addictive beat. If you are an A.R.M.Y, you would have guessed it, the song I listened to was ‘Save Me’. The song took unexpected yet amazing turns, vocalists harmonized with rappers and clocks were used for percussion. And that is how BTS has been ever since, always surprising and always stunning.
So when I heard that BTS was nominated for a Billboard Music Award, I was more than willing to put up with a night of forced celebrity friendships and awkward twerking just to catch a glimpse of them if only amongst the enormous audience.
They were up against some tough competition, veteran winners of this award and many others. But in my eyes, no one was more deserving than BTS, my seven best friends.
Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung and Jeong Jungkook make every A.R.M.Y feel like they are their best friends. I don’t love them for just their looks (but let’s face it, the abs are a pretty big bonus). I love them because they are good people who care for the fans that stand by them; they are humble people who give standing ovations even when no one else does. I love them because they are the nice guys from next door always tweeting me a good morning, telling me that my problems matter.
I have spent hours of my free time witnessing Jungkook graduate high school, growing from the baby-faced boy who ran away from girls to the charismatic man who still runs away from girls; stuffing my face with food along with Jin; laughing my stress away with the oppas who are just a click away. I croon to all their hits in broken Korean, fill up the words I don’t know with Korean sounding syllables, buy their albums, put up posters of them on my walls and keep hoping for a Min Yoongi photo card to arrive in the mail (it still hasn’t).
When I listen to BTS, I feel their love for music, their frustrations, their hopes, their dreams, their sorrows. “Honestly, I miss you/ But now I’ll erase you/ Because that will hurt less than resenting you” Yoongi raps with a passion in Spring Day that breaks me down to tears. Everything I hear feels real and gritty and truthful. And when the song reaches its end, I feel a little less alone, a little more connected; that someone so different to me in age, class, culture, race, and gender feels the same way I do.
My heart was pounding just as fast as theirs must have been as the presenters slowly opened the card containing the victor’s name.
I have seen BTS grow from a group without a big company backing them, with barely enough money for food, with audiences of two, to a group that, against all odds, sells out stadiums all over the world. However, they make me believe that their passion for music will always exist, and it is a reward in itself.
“And the winner is… BTS!”
As BTS walked up, elated, to receive the award it really felt like it was ‘our’ journey to the Billboard Awards, not just “their” journey.
(Co-Written by Ananya Suresh)