OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - An Ocean Springs graduate returned to his roots Tuesday to share his personal experience with bullying. Daniel Thomas says he overcame bullying and is now launching a tour to warn students and motivate them. His first stop was Ocean Springs Middle School.
The Nashville music artist and his dancers pumped-up the crowd at Ocean Springs Middle School. About 12-years ago, Daniel attended school there. He said he was a new student with no friends, so he performed a Britney Spears dance routine in a talent show, hoping to get noticed.
"It got worse. People started bullying me. People wanted to beat me up, because I didn't understand. It was just too much and I was crying and all I wanted was a friend," said Daniel.
Daniel turned all that negativity into motivation. He listened to his heart and became a dancer, choreographer, actor, and singer. Now, he's using his musical talents to launch his anti-bullying campaign called "Heart Speaks".
"It was designed around the story that happened here at Ocean Springs Middle School. I experienced my first bullying here in the cafeteria," he said. "My focus is more on their dreams and their goals and everyone has a dream and a goal."
Daniel showed video clips that target bullying, and he encouraged the students to show off their own moves.
"It really inspires me, knowing he got bullied, I got bullied, and he's a dancer and I'm a dancer, and I really want to do what he does," said 8th grader Nyla Durden.
"I think he really cares about us and trying to get the bullying to stop at a young age, getting the youth to realize how it can hurt somebody, how it affects people down the road," said 8th grader Drew Saucier.
"Cyberbulling, regular bullying, people just want to judge. I just want to help people really just know that they're so much better. They have a better calling in their life," said Daniel. "I just want them to hear my story, and literally, if one person gets out of it, then it matters to me."
Daniel is still working on his tour schedule. He plans to visit schools across the Gulf Coast.
His first album, also called "Heart Speaks", is coming out on Valentines Day.