Thank You, Kim Namjoon, for Inventing Suits
Alexa, play “Whatta Man."
What did we do in a previous life to earn the privilege of living in the same timeline as Kim Namjoon?
If my editor would let me, I could easily write 50,000 words about my ultimate bias, the leader of global pop supergroup BTS, Kim Namjoon. While I wasn’t granted quite that high of a word count, I have been given permission to gush over the idol from Ilsan-gu for his birthday.
Kim Namjoon, also known by his stage name, RM, is many things. He’s an incredibly talented composer and lyricist, equally gifted at creating ballads that will wreck you with their soul-baring loneliness and adrenaline-charged bangers that are so deftly written and velvet-voice performed that you don’t even realize he’s rapping about socio-economic inequality. He’s an environmentalist, a money-where-his-mouth is champion of justice, a humanitarian who has spoken at the United Nations and has been awarded the Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit, a museum-hopping art lover, and a brilliant orator who can switch from one of multiple languages he speaks fluently with the ease of a crab skittering across a beach.
As if that list of spectacular attributes weren’t enough for one person to embody, he’s also a genetically blessed individual who can wear the hell out of a suit. Broad-shouldered and armed with a dimple-bracketed smile that (I suspect) could ruin your life if aimed directly at you, RM is so dashing in a suit that I’m pretty sure he invented them. And so, for my birthday tribute to my bias, here is a love letter to my favorite natty Namjoon moments.
The 2019 Grammys Appearance
When BTS hit the red carpet for their very first Grammys in 2019, you could practically hear the collective gasp from ARMY around the world. Why? Four devastating words: RM. In. A. Tux.
With his silver hair shining like the moon(child), he eschewed the traditional bow tie and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his crisply starched shirt as if to remind us all that, yes: he’s still a crushingly sexy idol.
BTS ended up presenting the award for Best R&B Album that year (the first K-pop group to ever present a Grammy in the awards’ 60+ year history, by the way) and Namjoon slid in a subtle flex while on stage, promising, “we’ll be back,” making ARMY’s hearts flutter at the possibility. He made good on that promise and Bangtan returned in 2020 to perform part of a medley of Old Town Road remixes with Lil Nas X.
2021 Grammys: Your move. I’d like to humbly request a nomination for Map of the Soul: 7 and a full, BTS-only stage performance.
The Black Swan Music Video
No one was ready for Namjoon in "Black Swan."
The music video, which has more beautiful cinematography than most Oscar-winning films, is a gorgeous visual twin to an equally sublime song. It also blessed us with three-and-a-half minutes of RM smoldering in not one, but two suits! That jawline, that fading purple hair, that devastating gaze — I’ll never recover.
Speaking at the United Nations in 2018
One of RM’s most iconic suit moments didn’t happen on stage performing, but instead at the UN.
Yes, that UN.
BTS visited the United Nations in partnership with UNICEF’s End Violence campaign in 2018, and Namjoon stood front and center delivering a beautifully vulnerable speech (while looking completely dashing, of course). Listening to the full speech is a shortcut to turning any bad day into a good one. It’s filled with RM’s trademark sincerity and empathy, qualities that are so nakedly endearing it’s hard not to fall in love: “Today, I am who I am, with all of my faults and my mistakes. Tomorrow, I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that'll be me too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I am, for who I was, and for who I hope to become.”
Performing at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards
In 2020, we now refer to Kim Namjoon as a "Billboard Hot 100 Chart #1 singer" (for 2 weeks in a row!).
Back in 2019, though, BTS hit the Billboard stage to perform “Boy With Luv” with Halsey, and my eyes turned into little cartoon hearts when Namjoon appeared in a pastel suit. The song is forever a bop — the musical version of a dose of serotonin — and the added visual of RM hitting that choreo while looking that suave is pure heaven.
Performing at Jingle Ball in 2019
RM performed in California for the annual Jingle Ball in a three piece white tuxedo looking fresher than the first snowfall of winter. While his performance alone is crush-worthy, the thing that stays in my heart from that day was a brief, behind the scenes moment. As J-Hope nervously fretted backstage about remembering his English lines on the teleprompter-less stage, Namjoon assured him, "I'll cover for you if you mess up. Don't worry." Nothing but respect for my president!
MC-ing at KCON in 2016
RM became the sexiest thing to ever happen to Newark, N.J. when BTS headlined KCON in 2016. That fluffy blonde hair, the cooly casual blazer, the general boyfriend aesthetic vibe — come on! He’s adorable!
Oh, and those glasses. Namjoon in glasses just hits differently.