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Macklemore and Felix Hernandez #ChangeTheGame against bullying

Washington middle schoolers received a jaw-dropping surprise when Grammy Award-winning rapper Macklemore showed up to help them film an anti-bullying PSA.
Macklemore, Felix Hernandez
Macklemore and Felix Hernandez stand near a group of Seattle-area students on home plate of the baseball field as the students film an anti-bullying video at Safeco Field in Seattle, April 10, 2014.

For a kid, getting to miss school to film an anti-bullying public service announcement at Safeco Field is pretty great. But getting to do it alongside Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez and Grammy Award-winning rapper Macklemore is pure awesomeness.

That was the jaw-dropping surprise awaiting students at the Bellevue Highland Middle School in King County, Washington, when they showed up Thursday morning to launch #ChangeTheGame, a campaign to end physical and mental bullying. After filming two unsuccessful takes with the Mariner Moose mascot, Macklemore and Hernandez popped out of the dugout.

“For me, the anti-bullying message is important because every kid should go through school, should go through life without having to accumulate those scars,” said Macklemore to reporters on Thursday. “We all know what it feels like to be bullied, to be picked on -- feels horrible. No kid should have to endure that. This should be a world of positivity, a community of positivity, where kids can be who they want to be, not be judged, dress how they want to dress, love who they want to love, and just be who they are without anybody else’s scrutiny.”

The Seattle-based rapper preached a similar message of tolerance in his hit song “Same Love,” which has become something of a gay rights anthem. During the 56th Grammy Awards earlier this year, 33 couples wed on live television while Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed.

Many students experience some form of bullying in their lives, but LGBT or perceived-LGBT students are particularly affected. According to GLSEN’s 2011 National School Climate Survey, 63.5% of students felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation, and 43.9% because of their gender expression.

The 30-second PSA, to play on radio and television stations throughout western Washington, urges students to "be kind, stay positive and support each other." It ends with the line, "Together, we can change the game."