Rap star fronts anti-bully campaign
British rap star Tinie Tempah has told how he witnessed a classmate being picked on at school - as he is revealed as the new face of an anti-bullying campaign.
The award-winning musician, 26, has joined forces with Cartoon Network and ChildLine to front a new drive to encourage children to stand up to bullies.
The campaign, launched for anti-bullying week, comes as ChildLine revealed it had received more than 40,000 calls from youngsters worried about bullying in the past year, making it the top issue for children aged 11 and younger.
Tinie, who was brought up in Plumstead, south east London, said: "I'm really pleased to be working with Cartoon Network to encourage kids to take a stand against bullying. This is a very real issue that affects kids of all ages across the UK every single day.
"I saw it happening when I was at school and by being there for the kid who was being picked on, I helped him see that he wasn't alone. Even if I only helped in some small way, I'm glad I did it.
"It's so important that kids understand that bullying is never acceptable and that it's okay to open up and talk about their experiences - whether they're being bullied or see someone being bullied.
"We all have it in us to help, simply by being friendly, kind and considerate to others."
The rapper has filmed a number of clips in which he talks about the importance of stamping out bullying, which will be aired on the Cartoon Network all this week. The first will be broadcast today.
And animators have created cartoons which look at the issue which will also be screened.
They hope the channel's popularity will help spread the message of the campaign, called 'CN Buddy Network: Be A Buddy Not A Bully'.
In the past year, ChildLine's website has received more than 350,000 visits from children and young people looking for information on bullying.
And 42,267 called ChildLine about bullying, with 40% of contacts from children aged 12 or younger.
ChildLine ambassador and volunteer counsellor Anna Williamson said: "As a ChildLine counsellor, I know only too well how many young people contact us because they have been a victim of bullying, and I see first-hand the pain and damage bullying can cause to a young person's life. In some cases to a point that they are too scared to even leave the house.
"It is so important that we are able to let young people know that bullying is wrong and that they can get help, no matter what they're going through and that's why I'm so proud to be supporting this great initiative."