From idea, to vision, to fruition, the anti-bullying Hateless tour will soon be underway.
On Sat., Nov. 16, Winnipeg soul singer Flo (real name Florence Oramasionwu), along with motivational speakers Anna Morgante and Roland Vandal, and hosted by Ace Burpee, the "Hateless: Together We Can End Bullying" event will launch anti-bullying week, Nov. 18-22.
The show will feature special guests Mayor Sam Katz, a cappella group Those Guys, and Winnipeg Youth Chorus. Resources from the Canadian Red Cross and the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba will also be there.
"We want to start in our backyard and bring the tour to the people of Winnipeg," Oramasionwu said. "We want to take the message of fighting bullying, and promoting positivity, love, inspiration, and empowerment."
Sangeetha Nair and Oramasionwu decided to create a tour after being moved by Amanda Todd’s suicide in British Columbia on Oct. 10, 2012, and from personal experience
"When I was in school I wasn’t exactly the popular kid, I would probably be what you call a nerd," Nair, an entrepreneur who went to school in Malaysia, said. "I wasn’t physically abused per se, but it was very hard for me to go to class and to go to school, and I hated school."
The Hateless tour will travel to different schools in Winnipeg, and hopefully across Canada, reaching kids and teens that also have been affected by bullies, Flo said.
Oramasionwu, physiotherapist by day and singer by night, will perform at the concerts, which will feature motivational speakers and videos.
"Speakers will talk about how to be a better person, how to use your time wisely, stress management, suicide prevention, cyberbullying, all these different topics," Nair said.
Nair and Oramasionwu agree that with the invention of the Internet and cyberbullying, kids and teens have to deal with a whole new monster.
"It is definitely a whole new element and we feel that some parents might not understand the issue enough to better guide their kids through it," said Nair. "Some parents don’t even see it as a problem. They think ‘Oh, well take your kids off of Facebook and the problem will go away,’ but everyone has Facebook on their phones… it’s everywhere you go."
Oramasionwu said she hates when songs have useless lyrics. She always tries to write lyrics that have meaning in hopes of making a change.
"What drives me nuts, what irks me, is when you hear a catchy beat, good vocals, but when you listen to the lyrics you go ‘Ugh, Really?’" Oramasionwu said. "When I listen to lyrics that have depth and meaning behind them and everything else, with the full package, that’s what I want to do. I want to find a way to make a difference in the world and music is my passion and my love."
The whole idea for the tour branched off of an invitation Oramasionwu received to perform her song "Hateless" in Ontario schools.
"I brought myself and the full band and we did three performances and it was awesome," Oramasionwu said. "It was just testing it out, a testing ground, and it just fuelled my fire. It just told me that we’ve got to do this, there is no reason we shouldn’t."
Oramasionwu and Nair hope to start touring Winnipeg schools in February and across the country in March.
The Hateless concert on Nov. 16 will be held at the Park Theatre in Osborne South (698 Osborne St.). Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults and can be purchased at the door, at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Ave.), Music Trader (97 Osborne St.), and Into the Music (245 McDermot Ave.).
For more information, visit flosoul.com