The musical message of one local entertainer is being heard beyond the classrooms of Winnipeg.
Bubba B recently won the Children’s Recording of the Year for his song Wish my teacher was Bubba B at the recent 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards in Regina.
No stranger to the classroom, the hip hop artist, radio personality and youth mentor was inspired to write the song after spending the past few years involved with Manitoba Arts Council’s Artist in the Schools program, as well as I Love to Read Month.
Bubba has also been involved with the Learning Through the Arts program — in conjunction with The Royal Conservatory in Toronto — where he helps kids create and perform a rap song based on a specific topic.
He has worked extensively at King Edward, Niji Mahkwa, Strathcona and William Whyte schools in the North End and Mulvey School in the Wolseley.
Bubba said the song’s title came from an oft-heard comment from students.
"I’d show up for the first time and I’d hear it from lots of kids from different ethnic backgrounds. I think I started to hurt their teachers’ feelings," he said, laughing.
Beyond the humour, the East Kildonan resident said the song has important messages for youth by helping foster self-esteem and respect.
"The song talks about finding positivity in your life. Skip down the street. Move to the funky beat," Bubba said.
"It’s educational, because it’s about eating your lunch, brushing your teeth, keeping your friendships alive and building and keeping quality friendships, not accumulating Facebook likes.
"It’s also about being appreciative. Parents need to hear this. It’s about saying ‘I love my mom so much, my lunch is the best because my mom made it and she made something out of nothing,’" he added.
Bubba — who first called St. Boniface home when he moved to Winnipeg from Calgary seven years ago — has also been working on a second single about bullying, which is now complete.
He said the song comes from his own experiences of being bullied and arrives in the spotlight of the recent suicide of Port Coquitlam, B.C. teenager and bullying victim Amanda Todd.
"Right now, it might sound macabre, but with Amanda Todd dying recently, bullying has been thrust into the limelight," Bubba said.
"As big as I am now, I was bullied, but I survived. A lot of kids have confided in me their happenstance. Unfortunately, the big message conveyed by Amanda Todd was that she was alone."
"I want you know you’re not alone. There are bullies everywhere and victims everywhere and we don’t need to stand this anymore," he added.
Bubba — whose legal name is A. Bubba McLean — said he encourages youth who are being bullied to reach out to parents, teachers, counsellors or call a helpline.
"I want my song to educate. Don’t be a bully, never be a bully, report the bully. Why be a bully? It’s about time someone stepped up and did a song that bridges the young and old perspective."
Bubba is managed by River Heights resident Trish Mann. For more information, visit www.worldbuzz.ca.