Viral Vancouver Island hip-hop duo don pink for kindness

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Viral hip-hop dance duo Funkanometry from Nanaimo, along with countless other people across the globe, will be donning pink shirts for a good cause on Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 28.

Pink Shirt Day gets its name from a group of Nova Scotia students who wore pink shirts to school in support of another student who experienced homophobic bullying after wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school.

One way schools and organizations across the country will celebrate the day to take a stand against bullying is by tuning into the Pink Shirt Day Canada National Broadcast Show, for which Funkanometry along with Maggie Mac Neil, a Canadian Olympic Champion Swimmer, have been chosen as the featured special guests.

“They’re just a fantastic dance duo, really engaging,” said Andy Telfer, executive director of WITS Programs Foundation, on Funkanometry.

Duo members Jacksun Fryer and Carlow Rush, ages 19 and 20, were scouted for NBC’s World of Dance in 2019 after gaining recognition for their dance performances and a significant following on social media. They’ve since been scouted for America’s Got Talent in 2022, and their viral dance video to Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees has now garnered over 60 million views.

“It’s a great match in the fact that they’re two young people. They’re from Vancouver Island, and what they do makes you smile, it’s very positive. And our message on Pink Shirt Day is to empower kids to do positive things, so it’s a great match,” Telfer said.

According to recent statistics, one in five kids is affected by bullying. Pink Shirt Day aims to generate awareness as well as raise funds to support programs that foster children’s healthy self-esteem.

Pink Shirt Day’s national broadcast is designed just for schools and showcases students talking about their kindness projects, youth and award-winning authors and an open question period.

The artist of this year’s pink shirt design, Corey Bulpitt from the Haida Na7ikun-Raven Clan, will also be on the show.

His Haida-style design, showing two gesturing hands and a traditional Haida human face, will be donned on the pink shirts for sale, which remain a symbolic stance against bullying. The design evokes a friendly greeting used throughout Coast Salish communities to illustrate unity, inclusivity and diversity of all people.

Seabacola Beaton, the young co-author of the graphic novel, Andy’s Tribal Canoe Journey, will also be interviewed on the broadcast. The book centres on a multi-person canoe journey on the South Coast and contains a positive message about teamwork.

Pink Shirt Day has grown since its start in 2007, with over 110 countries participating in the event in 2022. Telfer said participation in schools with the national broadcast has also grown and this year, he’s seeing a lot of enthusiasm.

“We’ve already set a record for the most schools viewing at 25. The previous record was 20, and there are still two weeks to go; that’s when most people actually register. I’ve always wanted to hit the 50 school mark, but we’ll probably get somewhere between 25 and 50. We think it’s our best show ever. And we’re really excited to bring it to kids across the country.”

READ MORE: Island high school student designs Canada’s official Pink Shirt Day shirt

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