Whoever said worlds could never hurt you must not have been the victim of a bully’s taunts. Bullying keeps making headlines, but even more than the rare reports of deadly violence in schools and on the streets, far more damaging are the everyday instances of psychological jabbing. There are millions of kids suffering emotional damage to their hearts by bullying.
At a time when our national consciousness about the nature and consequences of bullying in schools has risen, rapper and entertainer Curtis Jackson, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, has written a children’s book on the subject. But instead of retelling the story of the bullied, the rapper had the courage to speak to the problem from the viewpoint of the bad guy- the bully himself.
“Playground: The Mostly True Story of a Former Bully” is aimed at young men ages 12-15 who are either dealing with bullies or doing the bullying themselves. By writing about the problem from a new angle, he hopes to show people that bullying hurts everyone, even the bully himself. In the semi-autobiographical story, the young bully is forced to face up the consequences of his hurtful ways, and find a way to earn forgiveness and, ultimately redeems himself.
50 Cent rarely makes the news for doing good. His rough childhood offered him little protection, and he was arrested several times for selling drugs, possession of firearms and assault. As a young adult, the rapper found his place in music and made a name for himself. He’s had more than his fair share of controversy and negative headlines, but the rapper feels that his fan base will listen to what he has to say about bullying because he already has their attention. The rapper now has a 14 year old son of his own, and says the book was written with him in mind.
This isn’t 50 Cent’s first book, he is also the author of two other bestsellers. But this book marks a real desire for the rapper to make a positive statement, and to help others. 50 Cent said in an interview, “If I can make a difference in the minds of young kids who are doing the bullying, maybe I can make them see that they have a story too, and they can stop the behavior.” By telling his own story in a voice that will sound natural and familiar to his middle school audience, the rapper has started a conversation of sorts that will continue long after the reader puts down the book.
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