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Song raises the issues facing young men today

New song raises the issues facing young men today

A new single from New Zealand hip-hop MC 'Wordperfect' aka Justin Cunningham is tackling the very issues making headlines today - the lack of positive role models for young men and the pressure on men.

The single "why boys cry" is from Wordperfect's debut album Spellcheck', the video was produced by Pixelati and Maori TV and will air for the first time on Monday the 23rd of August on C4's Holla Hour. The album and video are being launched at a function in Auckland on August 12 followed by a national tour.

Wordperfect is also a mentor for school children through the New Zealand Music Industry Commission music mentor programme. He works closely with Youthline and supports their message through imagery in the 'Why boys cry' video.

Wordperfect had this to say about his motivation: "Apathy is a major hurdle for our culture to conquer. 'She'll be right' is not going to make it right. With the worst male youth suicide rates in the western world and with continuing negative male imagery solutions need to be sought through support not continued conjecture".

Responding to a need Youthline was established 35 years ago with an emphasis of involving young people to develop themselves, and provide services to help other young people and their families.

Youthline's first point of contact for thousands of young people is through its help line. In addition to the help line Youthline provides a range of community development initiatives, training and development programmes and an integrated range of youth and family focused early intervention and grass roots services, including face to face counselling and an alternative education programme.

Lack of positive role models for young boys is an issue that has been gaining media attention, most recently from Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere, who in a speech to St Peter's College highlighted just how serious this issue has become.

Wordperfect's support of Youthline started through his friendship with Youthline youth worker Ramon Narayan. Ramon's work with young people includes going into schools and working with young males showing them how to respond with positive behaviour and what it is to be a positive role model.

"All too often young people are missing out on the support they deserve, especially from the people whom hold power in their lives. Working with young people in schools I am startled by the lack of positive male role models in some of these boys lives, they are just crying out for someone to be proud of them," Ramon says.

"A survey undertaken by Youthline found over 90 percent of young males identified with the view that the wider community thought negatively about them," he says.

In his speech to St Peter's College late last month John Tamihere painted a very grim future for our young males:
* Young men are four and a half times more likely than young women to kill themselves.
* Young men are 22 times more likely than young women to be imprisoned.
* Young men are five times more likely to cause a fatal car crash.
* Young men are twice as likely to be killed in a car crash, and three times more likely to be injured.
* Boys are four times more likely than girls to be stood down or suspended from school, or identified as having behavioural problems.
* Boys are more likely to leave school with no qualifications, and have a consistently higher rate of youth unemployment.
* Of the top 10 ranked schools in New Zealand, seven are girl's schools.
* Men are more likely than women to die of cancer and heart disease.

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