In the wake of numerous bullying incidents around the nation, Nick Cannon is taking a stand against the hate. The comedian and America’s Got Talent host has released his latest video “Die Young,” which he directed, from his forthcoming album. The clip takes a dramatic look at bullying and its effects by telling an all-too-familiar story: Words can actually hurt.
Cannon tells ESSENCE.com exclusively that he was inspired by the headlines and wanted to build an inspirational message for young people. He mentions that many of the stories shared reminded him of his own childhood. “I came up in the ‘hood, a low-income environment, and we were poor to say the least,” he says. “I was a small kid, even in high school. I was 5-foot-nothing, 80 lbs, and I was always the small kid and I wasn’t the most popular. I didn’t have the finer things and that made me a target a lot of times. I had to learn how to deal with it.” Despite being a target for bullying, Cannon says he had his personality to fall back on to help him through rough times.
As for what he’ll teach his 1-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan about bullying, the father says it’s all about self-respect. “I think a lot of times when dealing with victims and bullies themselves, they don’t understand the self-respect or the self-love, therefore they act. As long as you establish lots of love and lots of respect in the household, hopefully that will be the beginning to cultivate a good person.”