Northgate is fortunate enough each year to welcome artists into the school to perform to students and pass on a very important message. This year we welcomed Asher Knight and Denis Coleman. Both artists are part of the Power of Muzik agency, created by celebrity vocal coach CeCe Sammy, and tour around school across the country. Asher is now preparing to support All Saints on their upcoming tour and Denis is the winner of last year’s Open Mic UK/Future Music’s songwriter of the year competition. The performances kicked off our anti-bullying campaign, with more information and promotion during national anti-bullying week in November.
Denis performed one of his songs to the expectant crowds and then both Denis and Asher talked about online safety, making sure you report comments, block people who are sending unpleasant messages or comments but also to think before you post something and the impact that may have on someone. Denis went into the audience offering free t-shirts to those who gave examples of how to help prevent cyber bullying.
Denis performed a second song, one that he’d written after a few of his friends were going through a tough time, the message being about trying to stay positive about yourself and being proud of who you are. You can send a really strong message through the lyrics of a song and this is what Denis wanted to achieve.
Asher performed his new single ‘Why’, then spoke about mental health and how 1 in 4 people suffer with some kind of mental health issues, perhaps anxiety, depression, stress etc. He expressed that we need to be more open and understanding of mental health issues and it is not just depression that people suffer, conditions such as bi-polar and eating disorders also come under the umbrella of mental health. As students, if you know that someone is suffering from a mental health issue, let them know you are there to listen and support them, encourage them to talk if they feel able to.
The artists also spoke about the stresses of school, both academically and socially and encouraged students to speak to staff or parents if they feel they are struggling so that they can be best supported. The presence of social media can cause people to feel anxious too, seeing what others post. Asher said to remember that social media posts tend to show a very tiny snapshot of someone’s life and usually shows the good rather than the bad so to remember this. He spoke about different types of bullying and how at primary school he was quite seriously bullied including being stamped on. He didn’t speak up about it which looking back was wrong.
Asher said he wanted students to take three words away with them from the afternoon performance – STOP, SPEAK, SUPPORT. STOP – writing horrible comments on social media, sharing or liking posts which may be unpleasant to someone else or cause them to feel upset or down. SPEAK – there is nothing wrong with speaking out, be strong and speak to a teacher, parent or friend, perhaps even an Anti-Bullying Ambassador at Northgate. SUPPORT – lookout for each other and help those who might be experiencing bullying. You could help change someone’s life.
The afternoon finished with Denis performing once again with the audience up on their feet. Some of the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors got up on stage for a quick photo opportunity. They will be doing more throughout Anti-Bullying week to promote the support available at Northgate. Finally students were fortunate enough to be able to get autographs at the end of the performance to take away with them.
Northgate wishes to express a big thank you to Asher, Denis and their management for putting on two excellent performances and putting across such an important message along with their own personal experiences.
To see an article from the EDP click here.