BTS became the first K-Pop to be nominated and win a Billboard Music Award!
The group took home the Top Social Artist award, which celebrates artists with a massive social media following. They would beat Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendes for the award. Justin Beiber has won the prize every year since its introduction in 2011.
BTS’ win came from the support of their fanbase, which calls themselves “Army.” Votes were tallied based on Twitter and online voting at the Billboard Music Awards website, which allowed fans to vote multiple times a day. The voting hashtag for the group, #BTSBBMAS, was used over 300 million times since voting began on May 1st.
BTS’ win is seen as a sign of the in-roads the K-Pop industry has been making on a global scale. However, some music fans took to social media to dismiss BTS with racist remarks, asking how “these Asians” could win an American award (the BMAs are NOT restricted to American artists).
BTS’s win also sparked a conversation about why Asian representation in entertainment is important.
yea this is why we need asian representation here, people aren't used to seeing talented asians succeed in the music industry pic.twitter.com/raEUAzZHHO
— vs (@etherealfool) May 22, 2017
— BTS_태형 (@taehyungpics) May 21, 2017
So glad that a kpop group like BTS has paved a new path & set new goals for Asian representation here. Social media is a very powerful tool
— OG (@tattedpoc) May 22, 2017
And other fans just wanted to celebrate their group’s victory.
— J N (@Jenis_J) May 23, 2017
— Swiss Kpop Fan (@king7bang) May 23, 2017
— ✩aaiiiryz •͈ᴗ•͈ (@aiiryz13) May 23, 2017
— ᴇᴍɪʟʏ♡ㅂㅌㅅㄴㄷ (@fibbetmoff) May 22, 2017
BTS has become a fixture on social media since their debut in 2014, but they have been receiving American recognization since their 2016 album Wings. They have topped the Billboards Social 50 chart (which tracks an artist’s social media presence) for 25 weeks, released the highest charted K-pop album on the Billboard 200, and performed to sold-out audiences in Los Angeles and New York City.