BTS member Jimin opened up on the controversy surrounding their Saudi Arabia tour and said BTS will go wherever fans want to see them.
The K-pop boy band is being questioned by several over its upcoming concert in Saudi Arabia which has been criticised over its human right abuses. "If there is a place where people want to see us, we will go there. That is really how we feel," said the 23-year-old singer.
Band leader RM also reacted to the issue and said it wasn't an easy decision for them. The 25-year-old said in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, "I wouldn't say it was easy. But we were officially invited. It's been a while since we've performed in the Middle East." The last time BTS performed in the Middle East was in Dubai in 2015.
The Bangtan Boys is scheduled to perform in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on Friday, October 11, as a part of its "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" tour. Some fans pointed out the contradiction between BTS' tour message "Love Yourself" and Saudi Arabia's criminalisation of same-sex relationships. While BTS has been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, Saudi Arabia holds same-sex activity illegal and keeps public spaces segregated by gender. Till last year, the country also kept a ban on women drivers.
Incidentally, BTS's announcement of the tour came only a week after American rapper Nicki Minaj cancelled her performance in Saudi Arabia She cited its human rights violations and said it was important for her to support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression, reports CNN.
Saudi Arabia concert will be the first public performance of BTS since their return from an extended break.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Jin who is turning 27 this year, as he will have to take hiatus from the music career to serve in the South Korean military. South Korean law makes it mandatory for every male to serve at least 21 months in the military by the time he turns 28. Despite several efforts of BTS' fanbase ARMY, the defence ministry has refused to grant an exemption to the band members.