During an MTV News sit-down, Olympian Alex Shibutani discussed BTS’s impact on American pop culture, and what it means for Asian-Americans.
Alex’s sister and ice-dancing partner, Maia Shibutani, began the discussion by asking Alex to name his favorite BTS song.
In response, Alex said that although he didn’t grow up listening to K-Pop, he has paid attention to the “amount of appreciation”, “mass love” and “hysteria” for K-Pop.
“I love that [BTS is] collaborating with American artists,” he said, referring to BTS’s and Steve Aoki‘s “MIC Drop” remix. “I’m just really proud of what they’re doing, and I’m appreciative that people around the world, not just in Korea, are recognizing their talent.”
The “MIC Drop” remix was the first song by a Korean group to reach number one on the US iTunes songs chart.
But, more importantly, BTS’s skyrocketing success has drawn attention to the lack of Asian-American representation in the American pop industry.
“I feel we relate to the struggle of representation and trying to make sure that your talent is recognized and appreciated”, Alex said. His sister nodded in agreement.
“Growing up in the United States, there haven’t been a lot of Asian-American people in entertainment,” Alex said. This lack of representation is problematic because “growing up, you’re naturally going to gravitate toward people that look like you.”
“I think [BTS] are icons,” Alex added, as the discussion ended, “moving forward in a really great way.”
Check out the full discussion here:
— MTV (@MTV) March 8, 2018