By Anthony J. Machcinski
Ever since the events of Columbine High School 12 years ago, the efforts against bullying have been continually increased. These efforts have mostly been led by parents, concerned about their children in school. However, one young North Arlington resident is looking to change that.
Karlee Roberts, a 12-year-old performer, has taken it upon herself to promote anti-bullying in schools.
“In 6th grade, I had to do a ‘no name-calling’ contest and I had to write a poem about no name-calling,” explained Karlee about the evolution of her song “Call Me Whatever.” “From there, I decided to juice it up a bit and turn it into a song because I had experiences with bullying and saw people who got bullied, so I thought that we should do something about it.”
In the song, Karlee goes through a series of wardrobe changes based on the stereotypes children see in school, including cheerleader, glamour queen, geek, jock and goth.
The lyrics in particular send a message that many children today do not follow.
“Call me whatever you want, I don’t care. I’ll show you what I got. This is the way I’ve always been. Can’t you see, we’re all the same within?” Karlee sings to a melody evocative of her favorite singer, Lady Gaga.
“Call Me Whatever” is not the first successful music Karlee has produced. With the help of her older sister, Marlee, Karlee recorded a holiday album. All profits from the album raise money for the charity Comfort Zone Camp, a non-profit organization for grieving children.
While Karlee has had success as a singer, her main success has been in theater. Roberts has performed in several shows – some on Broadway, some off Broadway, and some touring – including, “Once Upon a Time”, “High School Musical 2”, “Rugrats-Live”, “The Sound of Music” and “The Wiz.”
Karlee has also made her presence known on television, where she made several appearances on “Jack’s Big Music Show,” on the television channel Noggin.
“I love TV and I love singing,” Karlee said. “I love everything equally.”
In her young career, Karlee has been able to showcase her love for everything by doing just about everything a child can do at a young age. As mentioned before, Karlee has been able to get plenty of opportunities in both theater and on television, but Karlee’s career began working in photography.
Within all of her success, Karlee has remained true to herself. Using her success, she has helped work with Pop Beats Bullying.
Pop Beats Bullying is a charity that “uses the Power of Music to combat bullying.”
One big goal of Pop Beats Bullying is trying to create a Bullying Awareness Year in 2012. The Bullying Awareness Year aims to help those affected by school-bullying by providing them with opportunities to share experiences and come up with solutions and ideas to combat bullying.
Karlee has teamed up with Pop Beats Bullying and is working on what she called “a surprise” that should debut in October or November.
Karlee is also working on a second original song, which will debut in February and a third original song that will debut sometime in spring 2012.
Even with all this on her plate, Karlee still does many things normal 12-year-olds do, such as figure skate, play soccer and cheerlead. All that and she is fluent in Portuguese and is in the process of learning American Sign Language.
Keep tabs on this 12-year-old. You might soon find her on your local radio station.