Justice

Todrick Hall Responds To Childhood "Haterz" In The Best Way

Texas native and "American Idol" alum Todrick Hall has a powerful response to bullies in the second installment of his new MTV docuseries, "Todrick."

Hall, an openly gay 30-year-old who danced ballet and was a cheerleader at his high school in Texas, takes viewers through the making of his music video for "Haterz" in the second episode of season one. With more than 1 million YouTube subscribers and 200 million video views, Hall has come a long way since his days growing up in the South, and the goal of his music video "Haterz" is to show young people that it's important to embrace their differences regardless of any criticism that they might receive from naysayers or bullies. This comes at a time when bullying continuously makes headlines for hurting the self-esteem of young people and even leading them to take their own lives. That's why it's so crucial for public figures such as Hall to spread the message that young kids rejected by their peers are not alone.

"['Haterz'] is anthem for kids who are underdogs, for those who dare to be different," Hall says on Monday's episode, adding that he enjoyed high school but faced some negativity on his quest for self-discovery. "I hear horror stories all the time about people's experiences in high school and I just feel like I had a great time in high school and I want to celebrate the people who helped me through such a rough time when I was trying to discover who I was."

 

Another crazy episode of #TodrickMTV is premiering on Monday as well as a new video - HATERZ!!! Watch my crew go back to my hometown in Texas on MTV

Posted by Todrick Hall on Saturday, September 5, 2015

 

The "Haterz" video, which takes place at a Texas high school, includes Hall's mom, Brenda, and his brother, Shay, who plays a younger version of Hall. The video also includes dancing cheerleaders and football players wearing pleated skirts to show acceptance for different identities. Hall invited some of his high school cheerleading pals to participate in the video because they stood up for him. Watch the video below:


"I had a lot of haters, but all my girlfriends had my back, and the people who had my back the most were the cheerleaders on my high school cheerleading squad," Hall says.

Todrick Hall's song "It Gets Better" also helps bullied youth.

This is far from the first time that Hall has encouraged bullied kids to keep going in spite of their obstacles. Earlier this year, Hall shared an Instagram photo of a fan who had the words "'It Gets Better' - Todrick Hall" tattooed on his arm. This is in reference to Hall's 2010 song "It Gets Better," which stemmed from the larger "It Gets Better" movement to elevate LGBT youth and urge them to stay strong in the face of discrimination and bullying.

"This made my day, my week, my year," Hall wrote. "No one has ever gotten a tattoo of me or something that I created and I am beyond flattered. I hope that my videos make you all laugh, but I also hope that they inspire you, motivate you and give you hope when you're down!"

The long-term impact of bullying.

It's not unusual that Hall still thinks about his former "haterz" even in his 30s, as research has shown that bullying can stick with victims well after they're out of school. In April, The Lancet, a medical journal, published a study that found that kids who are bullied often face mental health issues and have a difficult time trusting people later in life.

"It really does knock your self-esteem and how you approach people," study author Dr. Dieter Wolke told ATTN: in May. "If you get bullied for a long time, you don't trust other people. We also found in a different study that you're less likely to [be able to] work in teams, to find a partner, to trust others, [and more likely to] leave a job sooner because you don't like the conflict."

How to deal with the long-term effects of bullying.

ATTN: also previously interviewed Jodee Blanco, author of New York Times bestselling memoir Please Stop Laughing At Me and survivor of childhood bullying. Blanco speaks at schools about the long-term psychological impact harassment has on victims.

"I was bullied tremendously from fifth grade through high school for the same reason most kids are bullied today — for being different," Blanco told ATTN:. "If you were bullied in school or just felt invisible, don't let it haunt you. Find a therapist who you can talk to and help get your spirit and confidence back. Any psychological or emotional wounds you sustain will fester and grow as you get older. They will not go away. Deal with it head on and free yourself now."

If you are a victim of cyber bullying, call the Cyber Bullying Hotline at 1-800-420-1479 to report bullying and receive help.