Green Hope Students Come Back After BTS Tour-Finale Concert in New Jersey

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Green Hope Students Come Back After BTS Tour-Finale Concert in New Jersey

ARMY's shake their light bulbs, which are synched with the main stage display

ARMY's shake their light bulbs, which are synched with the main stage display

ARMY's shake their light bulbs, which are synched with the main stage display

ARMY's shake their light bulbs, which are synched with the main stage display

Uma Bhat, Staff Writer

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Shraddha Audut, ‘21, has been a fan of the hit Korean boy-band BTS since Spring of 2019; she’s bought their music, sung along to their new songs in barely comprehensible Korean — but it wasn’t until recently that she was able to experience the full on glory of the sensation group in their most vivid form, joined alongside a myriad of fellow fans from Green Hope at New Jersey’s gargantuan MetLife stadium.

“The energy felt from A.R.M.Ys  and BTS themselves was just very refreshing … the middle of the concert consisted of a mashup of several hits, old and new, where everyone was just hyped up and jumping around. The sounds was practically radiating off of the venue!”

A.R.M.Y —  otherwise known as BTS’ fiercely loyal fandom — has millions of members spread throughout the globe. Green Hope is no exception, and is home to equally passionate devotees. Many Green Hope A.R.M.Ys attended the Kpop septet’s final concert of the Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour in East Rutherford this past Saturday, joined by 55,o00 fellow enthusiasts for a three-hour show. According to Tamar Herman of Billboard Music, fans vehemently waved a dizzying array of colored lightsticks, which were connected via Bluetooth to the graphics display on the main stage, which emphasized “the relationship between the band and their dedicated ARMY throughout the dynamic concert”.

At Green Hope, the Korean “Hallyu” Wave, has made a visible imprint on the Student Body. Several A.R.M.Y. are avid Korean culture enthusiasts as well, and can participate in both Korean Culture Club and Key Club, which helps set up and host NC’s Korea-Fest in Raleigh every year.    

In the Cary vicinity, A.R.M.Y. can join a wide array of local K-Pop based dance groups, some including SoYoung Dance, led by Xiao Wen Chen of Harnett Central High School, and last year’s winner of KoreaFest, D.I.A Urban Dance, which has student members from Green Hope. Furthermore, thanks to the popularity of Korean pop culture, the local economy has seen the addition of several Korean grocery stores, such as S-mart and H-mart, and a plethora of Korean restaurants including favorites such as “Soo Cafe” and “The Golden Pig”.

But more than inspiring the creation of havens for K-Culture lovers, BTS’ international stardom has allowed GH students of Asian American descent to embrace their ethnicity and culture knowing that similar peoples exist and are excelling. Angela Xu, ‘21,  who also attended the concert on May 18th, elucidated on her own personal experiences: “I got into BTS over a year ago, and ever since, I’ve just been so happy and proud of being Asian. I used to get insecure a lot about my ethnicity, but I definitely feel that the band truly helped myself feel proud of where I come from, especially because of the message they’re constantly advocating for loving yourself. Also, the fact that they’re traveling all around the world and performing in their native language just makes me so happy that people are becoming open and accepting of new cultures.”

Angela’s sentiment is shared by numerous A.R.M.Y from different ethnicities, particularly Asian ones. BTS, as a band, has faced their own share of racism, being told to “go back to your own country” and “Who are these asians???” by netizens on Twitter after their first win at the Billboard Music Awards in 2017. Since their upward proppellment into a world of dazzling success, they’ve not only been compared to major hits such as The Beatles and Backstreet Boys, but have also squashed most critizers thanks to their fiercely supportive fanbase.

“People all over the world listen to BTS and K-Pop when they don’t even know the language,” Alexa Karrenbauer, class of ‘21, says. “I’ve made friends at Green Hope from loving BTS. When I walk around the halls I always seem to find people wearing BTS shirts and keychains. It makes me very interested to see how much BTS has an impact locally.”

Karrenbauer did not attend the concert on the 18th, but did attend another back in late 2018, also in New Jersey.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met another Green Hope student at a BTS concert due the how many fans there are. Also, multiple tour dates that are from all over the US that many go to. For example, I went this concert in Los Angeles, while some went to New York or Chicago. Though it still very exciting to see people I follow on social media to post about their concerts ‘cause it brings me back to how I felt when seeing BTS [live],” she explained.

However, while fans from Green Hope may not see one another at concerts respectively, several go together as friend groups. Xu attended with her friend, Annie Pi, and Audut attended with her friend, Nishka Matthews. All in all, Xu concluded, “the concert just felt so surreal and I still couldn’t believe that I was actually seeing them — it truly did feel like I was in a dream that ended in a couple seconds…”.

 

Shraddha standing on the top section of the Metlife Stadium, with tens of thousands of BTS fans in the background