November 7th, 2011
01:29 PM ET
There's always two sides to every story, and the problem with bullying is no exception.
A topic often discussed from the victim's perspective, rapper/author/actor 50 Cent is trying to provide insight into the mind of the aggressor with his young adult novel, "Playground," published earlier this month.
The protagonist is 13-year-old Butterball, a teen who has separated parents, a love of filmmaking and a lot of trouble on his hands after he lashes out violently at a classmate at school.
50 Cent, also known as Curtis Jackson, has written before, but says he became inspired to tell this particular story while talking to his 15-year-old son.
"Bullying is a major issue right now, not for him personally, but he’s told me of things that he’s seen with other kids. I found myself explaining it to him from this perspective because I was previously the aggressor, and I went through a time period when I was dealing with my feelings in the wrong way," the 36-year-old says. "I had to talk to him...and explain the mistakes that I made."
He continues, "I pointed it out to him when I was a teen that I got into a physical altercation with someone who was my best friend...At that point, I was conditioned to go as hard as possible when those types of situations came up."
50 Cent started working on the book last year, after coming across the popular "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" novel and says in the introduction to "Playground" that there's "a lot of me" in the book's protagonist, who's actually subjected to taunting himself at various points because of his size.
"I had a weight issue when I was younger, and I had feelings towards that that I wasn’t actually expressing or dealing with," 50 Cent says. "You don’t wake up and say, 'I’m going to be a bully.' But in my environment, people who were aggressive didn’t have to worry."
"So when you’ve offered examples of you not having a problem [with being an aggressor], people don’t come to you with it. Where I’m from, the kid in the schoolyard that doesn’t want to fight always leaves with a black eye, because no one throws a punch unless they see that you’re not going to stand up for yourself."
50 Cent also admits in the book's introduction that some of his actions haven't been "role model material," and he tells CNN that he does understand where his critics are coming from. But he's also hoping that using his experiences to develop "Playground" will draw in kids who relate to Butterball's perspective.
"The kid who is actually involved in those activities may be attracted to it for the wrong reasons, and it may open his eyes to [what he’s doing]," he says. "I’m offering a solution through sucking the kids into the character, allowing them to enjoy Butterball’s [story] and then define where those mistakes were made as we gradually go through the process, and to enlighten them in areas where they can not make those mistakes."
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