Fresh off their appearance before the United Nations General Assembly, BTS kicked off the 24-hour 2021 Global Citizen Festival with “Permission to Dance,” their track co-written with Ed Sheeran. The festival features hundreds of artists, activists and advocacy organizations working together this weekend to inspire awareness, seek unity and bring about global change.
Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Shawn Mendes are among this year’s performers, with the event timed to the UN General Assembly and G20 climate meetings. The festival culminates in Global Citizen Live, a festival spanning six continents and one of the main outreach events and initiatives for Global Citizen, an organization founded in 2008 with a goal of ending extreme poverty in the world by the year 2030.
As The Washington Post reports, BTS have visited the United Nations twice before, but this time they arrived as the “special presidential envoy for future generations and culture,” as designated by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. During a conference on climate change, poverty, and inequality Monday morning, BTS delivered a speech that contained remarks and anecdotes from young people around the world who’d responded to the group’s social media question: “What were the past two years like for you, and what’s your world like today?”
The music festival is part of Global Citizen’s overarching Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign to help end Covid-19 by calling on governments, philanthropists, and the private sector for financial commitments to help “kickstart an equitable global recovery.”