Written by: Savannah Alday
Fandoms are a part of music culture now. They create communities full of fans that might not have previously found one another. Their shared interest is typically centered around an artist or band that has touched them in some way, creating a sense of loyalty between the fans and artists. The largest collectives today are the ones associated with K-pop bands. The most prominent of these groups is the BTS armies. BTS’ fans eat, live, and breathe their music and any glimpse the boy band gives into their lives. It’s this undying loyalty and love that is setting a new standard of what it means to be part of a fandom.
BTS armies have gone far past what you might think of as fan projects. They do your typical posters and light sticks at concerts but they are going outside the arenas, allowing their impact to be felt across the globe. Recently, BTS fan groups have been raising awareness and collecting substantial donations for humanitarian efforts, trying to support countries affected by natural disasters and the recent Coronavirus outbreak.
On January 8th, 2020, news outlets began to report on the Coronavirus spreading across Wuhan, China. With reports of the virus popping up in several other countries and continuing to spread across China, officials in the country have declared a shutdown. The Chinese government's response to the outbreak has been swift but resources were quickly depleted. In response to the growing epidemic, BTS fan armies have gone out of their way to help. As reported by the media outlet KpopStarz on January 27, 2020, the BTS’ Jungkook community, which is the largest BTS fan club in China, posted to their social media accounts asking for donations from their fellow fans/followers. It is reported that they have raised a total of 52,000 Yuan the currency of China, which is $7,496.25 US. Beyond monetary donations, KpopStarz reports that Jungkook also outsourced certified local suppliers to deliver professional medical supplies to Chinese hospitals.
In early June 2019, bushfires began burning on the East coast of Australia, growing until it seemed that the whole East side of the continent was in flames. The magnitude of these fires is ever-growing with an estimated 480 million animals killed, along with the surviving wildlife environments and resources being completely destroyed. In late December through early January, celebrities donated millions to relief efforts as a way to aid the country. BTS’ Jimin’s fan clubs began the “Australia Forest Fire Contribution Relay.” This was in response and support for Jimin, who himself posted on his socials how he was conducting a donation relay. This is not the only environmental relief effort that BTS fans have contributed to. Most recently, the fan group called GOLDEN ALLIANCE PH reported by KpopStarz sent gifts to the Philippine Red Cross in the name “Goods From Jungkook” to aid those recovering from the Taal Volcano eruption on January 12, 2020.
These are only a select few of the humanitarian efforts conducted by BTS fan clubs. There are plenty of other reported efforts, as well as so many other projects that have not been reported. These armies are changing the face and idea of what a fan project is. Will you still see an organized display of posters and light sticks at BTS concerts? Of course!!! BTS is still their first priority, but going forward you will start to see even more fan collectives participating in passion projects. BTS fans are the leaders in what will ultimately be the new standard of fandoms.
If you want to get more involved in fan communities,