How hilarious online video sparked campaign to tackle bullying
When Flava Breakfast Hosts Darryl-Mathew Suasua and Astley Nathan (Daz and Ast) created their now infamous Mullet Anthem video, they had no idea the project they launched for the sheer fun of it, would ultimately inspire them to take on a social issue that devastates thousands of New Zealanders every year.
The pair created a viral sensation with their ‘Mullet Anthem - The Music Video’ when they released it on Flava.co.nz. At last count it had nearly 1.2 million views, 5.8 million impressions and posts have reached around 2.8 million people.
While the hilarious parody - an ode to Kiwi mullets - proved a hit with thousands of fans, the story from one young fan really struck a chord with the DJs.
“To be honest, we really didn’t see this one coming,” says Daz.
Ast picks up the story, “It all came from one young listener who told us about how he’d been victimised and bullied, because he had a mullet. There we were having all sorts of fun, and there was a young fan of ours suffering because of his appearance. That’s just wrong.”
Daz: “That story got us talking about bullying; how wrong it is - but also how common it is. When you find out one in two Kiwi kids are bullied at school and that 18% of New Zealand kids are frequently victimised by bullies – it makes you stop and think. That’s when we decided to find out how we could do something about it.”
They then called on Youthline and teamed up with the charity to launch ‘Don’t’ Attack’, a campaign primarily aimed at raising awareness around bullying but also aiming to raise some funds for Youthline too.
“I really hate to think that for many young people being bullied is just a part of growing up. There is no way anyone’s life should be like that. We’ve already learnt so much about the problem. When we had (New Zealander of the year and anti-suicide campaigner) Mike King on our show to help launch our ‘Don’t Attack’ campaign, the things he spoke about blew us away,” says Daz.
Ast: “Mike was saying that bullies are taught how to behave, they learn that at home. Mike’s perspective on how we should be throwing love at bullies to show them another way was incredible. I’d just not thought about bullying that way before.”
Daz and Ast are into the final week of a 3-week campaign dedicating part of their daily Wake Up Call on Flava to talk about bullying. As well as Mike King, they’re talking to counsellors, teachers and others involved in making a difference. They’ve also got heavyweight backing from some high-profile New Zealanders including the Vodafone Warriors and actor Joe Naufahu.
“What we want to do is get people talking about bullying. Help raise awareness of how big an issue this is and how bullying comes in so many different forms, from actual physical abuse, to exclusion and to cyber bullying,” says Daz.
The ‘Don’t Attack’ campaign will close with a 12-hour fundraising mission this Friday 2nd August with Daz and Ast taking their show across the day to help raise money for Youthline. They’ll even hand their music programming over to audience members who can get their choice of music played on the hip hop and RNB network if they’re prepared to donate to Flava’s ‘Don’t Attack’ cause.
“A huge thank you to Daz and Ast for their awesome mahi in raising awareness around the support that’s out there for young people, and their fundraising that is so essential to the work we do in being there for rangatahi and whanau,” says Youthline Clinical Services Manager Julian Barnett. Ast: “It’s quite amazing to think that in a small way, all this came from our MulletAnthem video – and from one of our listeners who was prepared to share his story.”
Daz: “It proves Mike King’s point - talking, sharing and caring can make a difference.”