Pork Chop. It’s a food. Comes from a pig. Can be fried, grilled or breaded. Some put pineapples on top. Tasty stuff. But what bullies in Canada did with those two words lacks any kind of flavor. "Pork chop. Pork chop," they shouted at a little boy as he walked down the hallways at school. The echoes rattled his cage, but what he truly heard was something different altogether: "Unlovable."
That was nearly 30 years ago, and now “Pork Chop” is all grown up. Today, he’s doing the talking, and what he has to say about bullying has millions of people listening.
His real name is Shane Koyczan, and the no-budget video he released on YouTube has gone viral – getting 120,000 views an hour. It’s fair to say that Koyczan is now feeling nothing but love.
Koyczan is one of the world’s premier spoken word poets who gained fame during the Vancouver Olympics. His new video is called “To This Day.” It’s raw, emotional and features his voice set to music and animation. Since it was posted on February 19, more than a million sets of eyes have watched it worldwide.
Its goal is to help schools and families make a far-reaching and long lasting impact on bullying by changing our culture as a whole.
“...I'm not the only kid who grew up this way/Surrounded by people who used to say that rhyme about sticks and stones/As if broken bones hurt more than the names we got called/And we got called them all...To this day kids are still being called names...”
Koyczan refuses to call himself a victim. In fact, he admits to bullying too. Having been on both sides of the fence, the poet offers a credible and interesting perspective. “To This Day” asks the lonely, the outcast and the picked on to find internal love by strongly encouraging them to believe that their name callers are wrong.
“Ugly.” “Stupid.” “Spaz…” words that bullies often let fly. Koyczan’s advice: Don’t let ‘em stick. Never own the name they are projecting; own the other side of the mirror.
Koyczan’s strong words and intense delivery are the driving forces behind the “To This Day” project. Dozens of animators, motion artists and musicians also volunteered their services via CrowdSource.
The final product represents Koyczan’s moving truth. "I want to cheer on the underdog, celebrate the strengths in the lonely and outcast, and reassure the despondent that endurance is a kind of credential for this life," he says. The boy once called “Pork Chop” is now doing all he can to take the bite out of bullies.
This video is generating a ton of buzz in our newsroom. What are your thoughts on the poet's stance against bullying? Tweet @ KyraHLN with the hashtag # RaisingAmerica or weigh in on Facebook.com/RaisingAmericaHLN.