Bullying may be endemic in schools, but at least one Veterans Memorial Middle School student has taken a stand against it.
Kayla L. Wyatt, 14, used her talents as a songwriter, actress and dancer to write “Stand Tall,” encouraging other young people to stand up against bullying. The recording and accompanying music video will be released to the public today at an official release party from 6-9 p.m. at the J. P. Carr Community Center, 90 Hardin Street Southwest in Conyers.
“My video is intended to reach out to those who sit by and see the bullying going on and my message is that we all have to Stand Tall,” she said. “Even though we may not be the ones being bullied, we still have a responsibility to intervene and stop it. Bullies only succeed when they have supporters.
“Young people listen to other young people so we need to use that power and work together to stop bullying.”
Though she has not personally been a victim of bullying, Wyatt said she has seen it happening. “I wanted to take a stand because it is not right the way kids get treated by other kids just because of what they wear, how they look or because they have different views,” the eighth grade student said. “I think bullying makes kids feel bad about themselves and as kids we should always feel good about ourselves. That’s why I named my song ‘Stand Tall,’ because if you don’t stand then kids will keep bullying you.
”We are just beginning our lives and we should enjoy it, no matter our background, our size, whether we are rich or poor.”
Wyatt has been writing songs about her feelings and experiences for years, but this is the first song and music video she’s recorded.
The daughter of Sherry and Willie Wyatt Junior, Wyatt was recently nominated for Best Supporting Actress by The Short Film Awards (SOFIES) for her role as Carlie in “My Hue of Blue.”
Festival performance leads to recording
The recording and music video came about after Wyatt performed at The Peoples Film Festival in Atlanta in February 2015. The organizers of the festival had asked Job Cannon, Wyatt’s chorus teacher, if he knew of an artist interested in performing during the intermission. He suggested Wyatt, and her mother submitted a tape of her singing to the organizers.
Impressed, the organizers invited Wyatt to perform. “It was my first paying gig as a singer,” she said.
After the performance, Wyatt and her mother, Sherry L. Wyatt, were approached by Yvonne Pierre of Hungry Artiz Productions and asked if the young woman would be interested in recording one of her own songs.
“It took me two days to write the song and I presented it to [Hungry Artiz],” she said. “They liked it and asked if I would also like to record a video for it and I said, ‘yes.’ It took four sessions in the studio before we had a final song.”
The accompanying music video was filmed in October at Veterans Memorial Middle School.
“I received a lot of support from the administrators at the school,” Wyatt said. “The Principal [James Peek] was there, my chorus teacher [Cannon] was there and a couple of my teachers attended and supported [me].”
A few of Wyatt’s friends plus some actors she’s worked with were also featured in the video. “They were really excited because it was their first time being in a video,” she said.
“I hope I will be recording more in the future,” she said.