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English: A key topic of this blog certainly is Bullying, and what can be done against it.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

"Playground" - Rapper 50Cent writes Book on his Past as a Bully

 Deutsche Version dieses Blogs hier.

The mostly true Story of a former Bully


"Thirteen-year-old Butterball doesn't have much going for him. He's teased about his weight. He hates the Long Island suburb his mom moved them to so she could go to nursing school and start her life over. He wishes he still lived with his dad in New York City - where there's always something happening, even if his dad doesn't have much time for him.

Still, that's not why he beat up Maurice on the playground.

Now his school is forcing him to talk to some out-of-touch lady therapist, as though she could ever fix him - as though she could ever figure out the truth. No, Butterball's lips are sealed about what happened that day. But some tales can't help being told. And this is one of them.

Inspired by 50Cent's own adolescence, Playground is a hard-hitting and inspirational story of the redemption of a bully."

-Book description by Penguin Books 

50 Cent at the
2009 American Music Awards
Curtis James Jackson III, born July 6th 1975, has come to world wide fame and fortune as a rap artist. Under his stage name 50Cent, he made it to the top of the charts as well as to the heights of artist's income statistics.

Jackson has been building up a multi-target enterprise that, among other things, tackles his own music projects as well as distributing clothing articles, non-alcoholic beverages, a body spray and also a condom line called "Magic Stick Condoms" - well, if that isn't enticing, then what is? Haha :-)!

Apart from these manifold (and successful!) projects, 50Cent has also worked as an actor in several movies, produced a TV reality show, and he has recently gained massive acclaim for writing, producing and starring in the drama "All Things Fall Apart".

Curtis Jackson also engages himself in lots of respectable charity campaigns and charitable joint ventures, and has, last but not least, written and published several books - the latest one being the upcoming novel "Playground".


In his music as well as with his literal attempts, Jackson undertakes the effort to deal with his childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

Those were times that have been massively troubled and tragic from the start. What 50Cent had to go through as a child had it's effect on him, made him go from bad to worse, trouble wise, during his high school time and ended him up at a boot camp finally.

Even after he was discovered as a rapper and started making a career in the music business, Jackson struggled, and the influence from his traumatic past saw him grow up to something that you can hardly be able to label as a "model citizen" during those years: Continuous hot and cold baths, from musical fame to legal troubles in so many cases, have continued even throughout his early years as a successful rap artists, and even made 50 Cent the victim in a shooting, where he survived being hit by no less than 9 bullets.

Still, Jackson gradually managed to use the financial means he made by his music to create a well-grossing multi-media enterprise. This enabled him to engage himself in more and more projects that would give back to the community. Jackson tries to make his own experiences from childhood and youth the model case by which he tries to send out a message that indeed deserves to be heard, and will hopefully have lots of impact.


The latest project in that line is the book "Playground - the mostly true Story of a former Bully", a 271 pages strong intense novel, which is scheduled to appear on November 1st 2011, and is available from November 1st 2011.

50 Cent and Bette Midler
"I applaud [50Cent] for writing this book for young adults about the terrible epidemic of bullying. He has the ear of his audience, and by sharing some of his own experiences, he is in the best position to help kids get through a frightening time and come out of it whole.

As a mother, I thank him for teaching the basic human principles of kindness to one another." 
-Bette Midler

With Better Midler's statement being one of several others, the novel "Playground" has won great reviews in advance already, and I must say that I really look forward to it. Based on his own life as a kid, Jackson tells a story that is exemplary for the genesis of a phenomenon where kids or teens become the nemesis for other kids and teens at schools all over the world - executing an agenda on their prey that tortures and brings misery and distress, and that teachers, parents, educators, and all the countless victims out there struggle to deal with:


Curtis Jackson aka 50Cent did not write the novel in the attempt of delivering an excuse for his own bully behaviour, or to rectify in general  the abuse that bullies all over the world inflict on their victims. What makes this book important is that it sheds a light on the fact that is ever so often neglected:

That kids are not born being bullies.

Kids are being made bullies, by circumstances in their lives that overwhelm them and that they find no way of dealing with. Every bully has some pain, maltreatment, massive neglect or abuse going on in his own life, either hidden somewhere in the shadows, or also in plain sight out open for everyone to see: In a kid's' family, in a dysfunctional neighbourhood ... - but no one reacts to these ailments and offers help, or a way out.

And so, these kid start to seek their own ways out, trying to find some form of release, some ways to empower themselves, to no longer feel weak and helpless. Having to do so on their own, they will probably pick up on what they came to learn from - the example given by the abuse they suffer themselves, and situation they are in ...

Consequently, this goal can be achieved ever so often (and in a sickeningly effective way!), by evolving from being a victim to becoming a perpetrator themselves - making others feel weak and miserable, making them suffer ... and leaving the bully the strong one in this scenario. 


As I said - neither this short analysis I tried to give in the two paragraphs above, nor 50 Cents autobiographic novel is an attempt to come up with an excuse for abusive behaviour of bullies on their prey.

Bullying cannot be excused, let alone be sanctified - Bullying needs to be stopped. But to effectively stop a bully from doing things that harm others, you need to try finding out where and how the need to bully others starts in a kid, what possibly triggers it. Because only by finding a way to the source, you will find real ways to end Bullying.

Let me put this thought into an image that illustrates very well what I want to say:

If you have a pressure cooker with food and water inside, and a tightly shut lid on top, sitting on a red hot oven plate that no one looks after, the water in that cooker will always (and way too long!) boil, the pressure inside will rise and rise, and the safety valve of that pot will constantly emit hot steam, and it will hiss painfully loud. Needless to say that the precious food in it will suffer a great deal from this constant overcooking.

If you see people being annoyed by the hiss and getting hurt by the hot steam, it will not help if you try to seal up that valve. The steam will search for other ways to stream out, and cause new damage.

It also will not help more than temporarily if you take the pot down from the oven for a while, and wait for the pressure inside to calm down, or even pour cold water over it.

As soon as the pot will get back to it's original spot on the hot oven plate, the misery will start again, because the situation that causes the problem has not changed.

Things can only change if you try to understand the nature of the pot, and also see the nature of the stove he sits on.

If you don't put up this extra effort, and try to find the knob that regulates the heat of the plate, nothing will change.


Coming back to the original issue here, Bullying, the important aspect of books like "Playground" by 50Cent is that they encourage us to actually see all aspects of the dreadful game we are dealing with here, so we can work on bringing a real change to the situation, by doing all three things that are necessary:

Step one is to protect victims from what bullies do to them, by giving active support in the moment when bullying happens.

Step two will be helping together to create a climate at schools where Bullying is not tolerated, let alone accepted.

Step three is to try understanding the roots and sources where a bully's behaviour may originate from, and offering support and help on that ...

... trying to find a knob, to somehow help control the temperature of that hot plate.



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