To emphasize the combat against bullying, TLC hosted their third annual “Give A Little” Awards last night at Union Park Events in New York City.
In conjunction with Love is Louder – a project of The Jed Foundation, the network’s ceremony recognizes leaders who raise awareness surrounding the social issue, make a positive impact on the lives of others and promote kindness across the globe. Among this year’s notable honorees included renown multifaceted thespian Taye Diggs of the CW’s All American, actress and author Skai Jackson, and Whitney Thore, star of TLC’s “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”.
Also celebrated for making significant efforts in their communities were three national contest winners: Danica Roem (first elected transgender delegate of the Virginia House of Representatives), Barbara Buckley, Angela Varney and Christina Varney (Annie’s Kindness Blankets) and Devin Moore (founder of #RaceToSpeakUp).
The golden carpet shined even brighter with these advocates of love and support, where we spoke with Diggs and Jackson about their experiences of bullying, solutions to the universal plight and upcoming projects.
The Knockturnal: First, congratulations on tonight’s honor. How would you propose the younger generation eradicate bullying?
Taye Diggs: That’s tough because younger people don’t really listen to older people, but I think it starts with EMPATHY. I don’t think we’re paying enough attention to the bullies. You know what I mean? I think we need to try to figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing because chances are they were bullied themselves. I think we need to take as much care of the bully as we do the people that are being bullied.
The Knockturnal: How important was it for you to join in and crusade against this social issue?
Taye Diggs: Very important. I had personal experience. For a good portion of my young life I was bullied so I can relate to it and its really great to have a platform – I’ll mention this later on tonight – to be able to have an effect and do something about it.
The Knockturnal: If younger Taye Diggs could look a bully in the face today, what would you say to them?
Taye Diggs: What would I say? Hmm… That’s tough. I’d ask him if he’d want to get a bite to eat. (laughs) You know what I mean? Or I would try be understanding.
The Knockturnal: What is one thing you would impart to your child about facing this kind of act?
Taye Diggs: I’m a single parent and I’m kind of making this up as I go along. My son he’s a cool kid, and I can tell there are moments where he can probably get caught up and making fun of people since other people are doing it. So, I tell him you can be the guy that can speak up for the child who is being bullied. That’s the coolest thing about him.
The Knockturnal: What can expect from the upcoming season of All American?
Taye Diggs: More of the same. We got a lot of drama. The Baker family is trying to pick up the pieces and put it back together. We’re dealing with the same and even more topical issues – mental health, race, sex, identity – all of that. Community. It’s far more intense this season.
The Knockturnal: In today’s social climate, why do you feel this award show is important?
Skai Jackson: I feel this award show is just important because we are honoring people who do great things. I just feel like that is an important thing to do, especially in this generation. I’m so excited to honored tonight, I think its an amazing thing and it should be great.
The Knockturnal: You’ve gone through your own form of bullying online, what would you tell younger people who face that today?
Skai Jackson: I would say just know it is going to get better. Please tell someone if it is going on, because I feel like a lot of people shy away from doing that. Also, there’s bullying on social media too, so if are being bullied on social media take a break, you know? Take that two weeks off, do what you need to do to feel better.
The Knockturnal: While experiencing bullying, I know you were attacked for not having certain body enhancements at just 14, what advice would you pass along to women who feel they need to alter their bodies due to societal standards?
Skai Jackson: I would say you’re beautiful no matter what. You don’t need to alter yourself. I mean, if God wanted you to look a certain way, he would have made you like that. So, you shouldn’t put anything foreign in your body to look a certain way and people should know they’re beautiful no matter what.
The Knockturnal: What’s next up for Skai Jackson?
Skai Jackson: I have so many things coming up. I don’t like to tell people exactly what I’m doing, I like to keep it secret! But just know they are really exciting and I can’t wait!
The event was hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist and TLC personality Lisa Joyner (“Long Lost Family,” “Taken at Birth”).