American ice dancers Alex and Maia Shibutani were recently featured on MTV News where Maia asked his brother about his favorite BTS song. Rather than answering the question and moving on to a new topic, however, Alex proceeded to praise the Korean group and said he is "proud" of what they are doing.

'You naturally gravitate towards people that look like you

Alex, who admitted he didn't grow up watching or listening to K-pop, says, "I have definitely paid attention to the amount of appreciation and mass love and hysteria for K-pop." Alex continued on to say that he loves that BTS has collaborated with American artist Steve Aoki on MIC Drop remix.

The figure skaters, who represented Team USA in the recently concluded Winter Olympics 2018 held in Pyeongchang, Korea, received shoutouts from celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson for their performance on the ice. Outside the rink, however, they are giving shoutouts themselves to the K-pop group, who won top social artist at the Billboard Music Awards 2017.

"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," says Alex.

Struggle for representation

"Especially growing up in the United States, there haven't been a lot of Asian American people in entertainment. And, you know, growing up, you're naturally going to gravitate towards people that look like you, so I think that in a lot of ways they're icons," says the older Shibutani.

BTS, as a group, with 13.1 million followers on Twitter, has proven to be an icon in the music industry, but even as individuals, they continue to catch international attention. Just recently, member J-Hope released his mixtape, "Hope World," entering the Billboard 200 as the highest entry for a solo K-pop act.

J-Hope has also released music videos for tracks "Daydream" and "Airplane," which have been received well by fans. Reaction videos are cropping up left and right on YouTube.

Alex adds, "In a lot of ways, I feel we relate to the struggle of representation and trying to make sure that your talent is recognized and appreciated." The siblings showed up at the Oscars with their Olympic medals, posing for cameras, a sign that their own talent has been given recognition.

The Oscars itself was full of attendees and awardees who believe in giving recognition where it is due. Guillermo del Toro and Lupita Nyong'o were just two artists who chose the platform to encourage diversity and support the dreamers.

With the continued support for K-pop in American music, BTS is paving the way for other Korean acts to make it big internationally.

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