BREAKING DOWN STEREOTYPES SO #BOYSCANDANCETOO
Junior Frood was awarded the Diana Award in 2016 for his work campaigning against the stereotype that dancing is not for boys. Now, in his journey to become a dancing star, he is encouraging others to join him in the fight against stereotypes and explaining why you should never stop chasing your dreams.
I first started dancing when I was three years old. I started dancing to anything and learnt my moves from copying music videos on TV and YouTube. I love to dance as it enables you to express your feelings and forget your problems and worries. When I dance I feel like I am free to be who I want to be and I can get all my frustrations out on the dance floor.
“When I dance I feel like I am free to be who I want to be and I can get all my frustrations out on the dance floor.”
Even though I love to dance, I have been bullied all of my life for my love of dancing. At one point, the bullying got so bad I was physically beaten up and emotionally and mentally taunted in person and via social media. For some reason people believe that dancing is just for girls. I have never understood that as there are many celebrities out there that are male dancers such as those in Diversity, Flawless and Billy Elliott. I realised that the bullying was down to the stereotypes that exist in our society.
My experience led me to become an anti-bullying campaigner. I wanted to encourage more boys to dance and show the boys that already danced that there doesn’t need to be a stigma. I created an anti-bullying dance that tells the story of my experience being bullied and overcoming it, which I went on to perform at events and concerts. I set up a social media campaign called #BoysCanDance and #BoysCanDanceToo, which has since appeared on national TV, radio and in magazines in the hope of breaking the stereotypes that exists.
I believe that nobody should influence who you are or who you want to be. Your life is yours to live how you want to and you should never feel ashamed for following your passion. Everybody is individual and shouldn’t have to follow the norm. In this 21st century it is important that we challenge the stereotypes that exist and learn to embrace difference.
I hope I am a role model and that others follow my lead, following their dreams and not allowing anybody else to influence or affect their behaviour, decisions or actions. Being classed as different and bullied for my love of dancing almost took away my passion and dream of becoming a professional dancer. Luckily, no matter how bad the bullying got I refused to give up. I hope that through being a Change_Maker I can stop others from giving up on their dreams too, because everyone, no matter who you are, should be free to dance.