Shannon K Fights Bullying With Positivity In 'Give Me Your Hand' Video: Premiere
Shannon K, the 17-year-old singer/songwriter originally from India who was raised in the U.K. before moving to the United States at 14, releases her new music video "Give Me Your Hand" on Thursday (Nov. 1) in support of the Love Is Louder project.
"Give Me Your Hand" is an anti-bullying anthem written by Shannon K and her sister Annabelle, who suffered at the hands and words of bullies, to the point that they had to be removed from school and moved into homeschool. Shannon K being a social media influencer, the cyberbullying she endured was so intense that she began to harm herself to numb the pain. It has only been through talking and sharing her experiences, and the support of her family, that she has overcome this terrible ordeal. In an effort to support other victims of bullying, Shannon and Annabelle have written a meaningful and catchy anthem that will speak to anyone who has been bullied at any age.
Everyone in the video participated simply to support for the issue; no one was paid for their time. The video features David Arquette, Ed Westwick, Freddie Smith, Briana Evigan, Antonio Del Rio, William Valdes, Chloe Noelle, Connor Dean, Mirjam Novak, Kelley Jakle, Shelby Young, Chrissie Fit, Manolo Gonzalez Vergara, Drew Van Acker, Ryan Pinkston, Molly Burnett, Taylor Spreitler, Kevin G Schmidt, Aubrey Miller, Lexi Dibenedetto and Ian Bohen.
“From my experience, bullying comes in many forms and to all sorts of people at points in life. It is awful to bring people down. To encourage and to lift up is how we grow and progress, collectively. We are not different. Shannon is a remarkable young woman and her story is one of sadness, courage, and success. She has given a voice and a face to many. It is with a pleasure and pride I help to carry that voice,” Ed Westwick said.
“I felt really alone and I thought that no one would understand me," Shannon K told Billboard. "Whenever there used to be family and friends come over to our house, they would always talk to my sister more because she was whiter than me and they wouldn’t want to touch me. They wouldn’t want to talk to me that much, and so I felt that kind of ignorance from a lot of people, and I went to school and the school gave me a tough time.”
She continued: “They were more verbal which hurt me the most. I remember one day I wore this yellow top to school and all my friends told me that I’m too dark to wear yellow and that I should never wear that. I should never wear any pastel colors. I should just stick to wearing dark things and they made fun of my speech and the way that I talk because I used to have a lisping problem before, it was hard for me to pronounce some of the words, especially with certain letters, so they would tell me to repeat that word again and again and laugh, right in front of me. So, it was really embarrassing for me to go to school every day and face that. And then came the social media, I guess, which broke all the rules.”
Shannon explained to us how the song and video came about: “I was 14 when I came into the social media world and it was just too hard for me to handle, and at one point, I got so depressed and frustrated that I decided to self-harm. It was just a nightmare for me. But fortunately, my parents have always been involved in my personal life so they helped me to get out of that black hole. My sister got bullied, as well. She got body shamed and so I realized that I wasn’t the only one who was going through this and that if I take a stand against this and if I raise my voice and if I do something about it, then others who have gone through worse, they would stand up as well and they would raise their voice and they would see me and be encouraged to raise their voice and that’s how 'Give Me Your Hand' came to be. I wanted to quit music. I thought that it was a mistake for me to dream about it and pursue my dreams but… I guess 'Give Me Your Hand' explains that it’s a positive sentence, and it just says that you’re not alone, just give me your hand, just let me in and let me understand you. Let’s talk to each other and let’s help out each other.”
And why did Briana Evigan, Kelley Jakle and others participated in the video?
“I participated in the video because I believe in love, promoting acceptance, and creating awareness so that we can prevent bullying. I am also a huge supporter of Love is Louder and I just adore Shannon!” Kelley Jakle said.
“I think when we went up to them with this topic, it’s such a big topic and when we were talking they felt every single thing and they could connect to it and that was the biggest thing for me because I thought that I was the only one, again, going through this as a person of color," Shannon says. "I thought that this is the disadvantage of being a person of color, you know, having to face racism and all kind of things, but when I heard from all these actors that they went through this as well, we connected and I was like, 'You should definitely be in this video,' and they were so happy to be, and I’m just so grateful for each and every one to just participate in this amazing video, and I think the credit just goes to them, the amazing director, Fernando Ferro, my sister who wrote it with me, and of course, the producer who did absolute justice to this amazing message."
"I participated in this video to take a stand with the incredible Shannon to help bring my voice to put an end to bullying. There will always be bullying in different forms, but it was an honor to stand by this woman and support her in telling the world her story. I was bullied in elementary school mainly but was also the bully in high school. I did it to fit in, which doesn’t make it right. After I got out of what I call the bubble of high school, I made it my duty to always support and stand up for those that felt voiceless, including myself. Shannon was lovely, a beautiful soul, a joy to be around in the quick moments we had. I am grateful to have been a part of a great crew," said Briana Evigan.
Shannon explained the hateful boards in the video: “Those were comments that were actually really taken from the comments under my social media. Yeah, that’s what we try to do with the black and white, as well, because you know, black and white just shows that you’re either this or you’re either that, you know? It forces you to be in these two categories just like in this world. You either have to be really, really beautiful to be accepted or you’re not. You’re just a normal person. And towards the end of the video, as you can see, people, you know, we show our colors, we show that, you know, we can be as creative as possible, and we can be different and unique and that’s the way we shine, so that was our motto of this video.”
"After my first meeting with Shannon to discuss the creative of the music video, the one thing that was clear was how personal this song was to her and her sister. This wasn't just another song, and to make just another music video would be a disservice to what Shannon wanted to accomplish, which was unity and acceptance in the face of division and bigotry. The set was all love, and everyone who participated understood how important it was to get the message right. I'm beyond proud to have directed this, and more importantly, to have collaborated with an artist who wants to spread positivity and hope to everyone and anyone willing to listen," said director Fernando Ferro.
The "Give Me Your Hand," produced by Iron River Pictures, was created in support of the charity Love Is Louder, a nonprofit project preventing bullying and protecting emotional health, co-founded by Courtney Knowles and actress Brittany Snow of the Pitch Perfect movie franchise.
The video is a story that takes you through a “museum of hate," showing message boards and images featuring hateful and spiteful comments from actual bullies, which are unfortunately relatable to anyone who has been bullied. These artists don’t shy away from that hate. Against a backdrop of a High School Gym (shot at Emek Hebrew Academy) they hold up the signs that have hurt them the most. Then through friendship and companionship, they decide that “Love IS Louder” and they rip up the nasty words or turn the negative words into positive affirmations.
“From the minute we read the lyrics for 'Give Me Your Hand' and saw the video concept, we wanted to partner with Shannon K to amplify this important message. The negative words that have been said about us - or that we say about ourselves - can have such a lasting impact and we need to support each other in muting that negative noise and amplifying positive messages," Courtney Knowles said.