On Tuesday of this week, superstar boy band BTS announced that they would essentially be taking a hiatus during their Festa live event. Except that it isn’t exactly a hiatus, according to the band, their label and management — but the band will be focusing on individual pursuits for a bit (and possibly military service) before coming back together as a group. In the group live event, the band took turns tearfully recounting the last nine years of their time together and expressed how tired they were but wanted to keep their fans happy. They spoke about taking time apart, but how it would make them stronger when they came together. It wasn’t a statement of finality.
Perhaps the most moving moment came when BTS’ leader RM aka Kim Nam-Joon expressed his fear of disappointing their fans known better as ARMY but after the event addressed the misunderstandings that this break means the end.
“The courage to be honest always seems to cause unnecessary misunderstandings..,” RM said in a Weverse Statement.
The event came as a shock to many of their fans but was not without warning signs. There have been moments along the way when members have allowed their perfectly crafted posture to relax so they could be honest.
LEO talked to one of the local ARMY Founders, Susan Chapman and discussed her feelings about the announcement and what she hopes for the local members of ARMY.
“I think what affected me the most was that they had kept pushing so hard through the pandemic to make the world and ARMY happy but were completely exhausted,” said Chapman. “I think they planned to take a break after the 7 tour in 2020 but that didn’t happen, and just kept going hoping things would get better with the pandemic.”
The band did many virtual live events and episodes of their RUN BTS show despite the pandemic. During the band’s Festa virtual event, they spoke about their exhaustion and how they pushed and pushed to meet fan expectations.
“I really appreciate how honest they felt they could be with ARMY,” said Chapman. “Yes, RM crying was gut wrenching. I wish they knew they could never disappoint us. We want them to be happy and healthy. As artists they need to fill their well or else how can they produce something new?”
With the band now technically taking a break — though member J-Hope will be performing at Lollapalooza and other members have released new music — Chapman says she feels that ARMY will continue to be active and motivated to spread positive energy.
“They aren’t really on a true break,” Chapman said. “In a way, ARMY will be busier than ever keeping up with seven IG (Instagram) accounts and seven new albums and possible concerts. J-Hope is headlining Lollapalooza in Chicago at the end of July and his second album is coming out mid-July.
“This is just giving them a chance to really focus on their solo stuff. They will still be doing RUN BTS episodes. I think it is giving ARMY a chance to think about our own lives and what we want to do going forward. I think their message about ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Speak Yourself’ is very powerful.”
Local ARMY hosts several events a year, including one coming up on June 25th at Xscape Blankenbaker Theater.
“We have cup sleeves and movie theater events right now,” Chapman said. “In the past we’ve had some charity/nonprofit events and I want to get back to that. Now that we can help out in person again I think that will be great. Do you know about One in An Army?”
Admittedly, I did not.
It seems that BTS ARMY has not only an immense presence amongst K-pop fandoms but also as activists in the name of the band. They have mobilized for causes the band supports like Black Lives Matter, and against those that are harmful such as against Asian hate crimes and even against political figures that spread hatred. The group even has an organized charitable arm called One in an Army (OIAA) that works on volunteering for charitable and non-profit organizations.
With such a worldwide presence, political power and a force that has taken up the band’s call to spread love and positivity, we knew that many local ARMY members had a lot to say about their favorite band’s announcement and we wanted to provide them space to share their thoughts.
In true ARMY fashion, everyone had big feelings about the announcement but instead of feeling discouraged many are motivated to support the group even more and to continue paying the love they feel from the band forward into the community.
Here are some of the other responses we received from members of the local ARMY group.
I am so, so proud of the boys. They’ve focused on being a unit of seven for over 9 years now and they’ve long since earned a chance to grow artistically and as individuals for a while. I am beyond excited for the seven of them to release their own unique albums.
James Jaime Amaya (@jamaya88)
I know these gentlemen will do great things as they grow individually and make the AAPI community proud. As part of ARMY, we will wait until all seven are back on stage together as one. #ipurpleyou. See you soon! #fingerheart
Catherine Brown (ARMY and sister of LEO’s Carolyn Brown):
Honestly, I was a bit nervous and taken aback when I saw the news. I’m in a group chat with other ARMY across the country, and they were the reason that I found out about this news when I did. Everybody kept talking about it as if they broke up, but I’m holding out hope that it’s not like that. I’ve done a bit more research and I honestly think that they’re just taking a break like they’ve done after all of their comebacks in recent years. Most of the members have already ventured out into solo projects like EPs or acting, so I don’t see this as being too different from that. I think that it’s good that HYBE has been reassuring us that it’s not a split, just a break for the members. All I can hope is that we don’t have another One Direction “hiatus” on our hands.
Desrie Nisbett (ARMY and mother to very cute dog, Poncho):
I first discovered BTS in the Summer of 2020 when Dynamite was first released. I knew of them and watched their SNL performance the year before and was quite impressed. I was even more impressed when they released an all-English song…and it was good! I decided to explore who BTS was and did a deep dive into the videos and fan posts that I could find. I went down a rabbit hole of Youtube videos. I found that I liked them. I loved their dance routines. Their dance choreography hooked me because I love a good boy band that can put together fantastic footwork. The songs are catchy. It doesn’t matter that they don’t sing in English, you find yourself loving the songs. I also love that their songs have a message for their fans.
When I watched their FESTA dinner the other night, I wasn’t shocked that they decided to take a break. They have been going nonstop for the last 9 years. They have released an album every year since their debut, sometimes two in one year. They have also filmed their variety shows and done promotion after promotion. Half of them lived their teenage years under strict conditions to get to where they are today. The other half were in their late teens, yet they have been in the spotlight and under a microscope for the past nine years. With people questioning how they got to be so popular, and others denying their talent, it must have been exhausting. They spent their formidable development years (from boys to men) in front of a camera as BTS. While I don’t deny they love what they do, each one of them has to figure out how far their talents stretch and what they can do on their own. JHope made a good point when he said that when they come back together as a group, they will have more synergy because they are getting the opportunity to tap into new ideas to bring back to make BTS even stronger. I fully support their decision, but I do hope they stay together for a little bit longer. I really want to go to a concert😂!
Allison Collin-Snow (ARMY):
While watching the BTS Festa 2022, I was heartbroken that RM was in tears thinking about how BTS would disappoint ARMYs by taking a break! RM Oppa, you don’t need to be worried! True ARMY’s love and support all 7 in whatever endeavors you choose in life! Each member is a precious soul and we can’t wait to see you reveal your truest selves! We know you’ll be with us “for the rest of our lives”! SARANGHAE
Emma Thompson (ARMY and co-hosts cup sleeve events with her daughter Melody Rembold):
So initially I was very sad, for very selfish reasons. I wanted another tour announcement. I wanted that chance to see them in concert again. As a fan, we don’t get very many chances here. Concerts sell out very fast and then resale is ridiculous in pricing. So, I was really hoping that a world tour would happen before a break.
Once I took a moment to really hear what was being said besides hiatus, I realized that they were baring themselves in a very personal way and asking that we understand and not be disappointed that they are human.
They have been non stop for 10 years. Giving to us everything that they have. When have they had the chance to really experience in their lives the lessons, emotions, growth you get from friendships, love, everyday life. They, for the most part, live in a bubble where everything about them is scrutinized. These gentlemen have worked so hard, for so long, doing something that they love. But not without personal cost and sacrifice.
So how do I feel? I am happy for them. They should take all the time they need exploring their innerselves and solo projects. They have given so much for so long, how can we as fans give them anything less than our whole support and encouragement?
My daughter and I do cup sleeves for BTS here in Louisville. We love to do them and have made great friendships with other fellow ARMY through them. We are going to continue to have them and show our support through this. We plan on being supportive of each of the members solo endeavors. We will attend concerts, watch shows, listen/purchase new music as they drop. We are hoping to see J-Hope at Lollapalooza in Chicago. We will recognize their individuality and what each brings to us. When and if they come back together, we will be there as well.
I would hope that any and every fan would wish them happiness on this next chapter in their lives. I hope they fall in love, take that trip, explore that path, breathe, make new music, laugh, make mistakes, find yourself and take joy in your journey of discovery. Don’t worry about us, ARMY, we will be right here waiting.
I mean, if Jimin can fall asleep on a floor after practice in the studio, just so he can get up and practice more before school so he can be the best for ARMY, or hand write 300 messages to give fans on his birthday like Suga, again, we can be no less supportive of them.
One thing is definite, Local ARMY is still behind their favorite band, BTS; and thought they won’t have the band in the way that they are used to for a while, they know that whatever the members do, however they grow, ARMY will be right with them, supporting them and spreading their work all over the world. ARMY is hopeful that the best for BTS is yet to come.
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