Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 09/29/21
NEDY is Made to Be a force for good. The fast-rising pop star believes that applies to every one of us as she spreads a message of self-love and strength through the release of her latest single. Having experienced bullying herself, she hopes Made to Be (Remix) will serve as a guiding light that helps everyone within the sound of her powerful voice to embrace their unique God-given qualities and not pay attention to those who make them them feel inferior.
Our conversation follows her lyric video remix below.
JWK: Great song! It’s being hailed as an anthem against bullying. What was your intention in writing Made to Be? What inspired you?
NEDY: I was experiencing bullying firsthand. Really, the people who were bullying me kind of inspired me to write down my thoughts and just my feelings about my experience at my restaurant job. So, I was bullied as an adult – also as a kid but most recently as an adult and that’s what inspired writing Made to Be.
JWK: You recently announced the formation of an anti-bullying organization called Friends Forever Club. Can you tell me a little about that?
NEDY: We are a 501 (c) (3) anti-bullying nonprofit. What Friends Forever Club is, I would say, is multiple things. First, we are a group of friends that welcomes anybody that may be experiencing bullying or anyone that just feels alone. We welcome them to be a part of Friends Forever Club where we kind of encourage each other in being who God made them to be – as well as educating on the effects of bullying. We go anywhere from doing demonstrations and performing at hair salons to juvenile detention centers. It’s really anywhere people will have us to spread that message of purpose, value and hope.
JWK: So, bullying isn’t something that just affects kids. Many adults also find themselves bullied.
NEDY: Right, exactly. Unfortunately, it still continues on into adulthood.
JWK: Do you have any tips for people who are bullied on how to handle it?
NEDY: Yeah. There are a lot of different ways to go about it. (First,) if you’re observing that someone is being bullied – if you’re witnessing someone being bullied – the statistics say that if you step in and say something about it (there’s) way more of a chance for it to stop. So, just being really proactive – whether you’re the one that’s being bullied or observing/witnessing someone getting bullied – just making sure that you’re saying something is really important
As a Christian myself, I also found a lot of encouragement from the Bible and just reading those Scriptures about what God says about me because, often times, the words that people tell us, whether for better or for worse, is what we identify with.
So, if someone is calling me, you know, “scum”and they’re saying that I’m dirt then I tend to start believing that I am dirt. Then, also, if someone’s saying “You’re the best thing ever! Wow! You’re so amazing! You’re the most amazing pop singer I’ve ever met!” I start to think “Oh, wow! This is my identity!” but when I look toward the Bible, the Word of God which never changes, I start to find my identity in my Creator and what He says about me. The best example of God’s love for us and his value toward us is the Gospel which is Jesus dying for our sins and resurrecting – God sending His Son. So, really, from a spiritual aspect…pray and read what God says about you because His opinion of us never changes.
JWK: So, I guess what I hear you saying is that balance is important. Don’t put too much stock in people who really lay on the praise – and who may be sucking up to you for whatever reason – or, certainly, not in what the people who seem intent on condemning or shaming you have to say. You find balance in God’s steadfast and reliable love.
NEDY: Exactly, yeah! I think it’s easy for us to find our identity in what we do and the thing is that changes too. God has given us gifts which we are to use but my gift can be taken away from me. So, if I find my identity in my gift, if that’s taken away from me then I lose myself. We were created for something so much bigger than that – which is God. I believe our first purpose in being created is for our Creator and then our second purpose is to let other people know that we were created (to gratefully praise) Him through using our gifts.
JWK: One of the lyrics of your song says “I can never be anything but who God made me to be.” Who do feel God made you to be?
NEDY: I think first would be His daughter and to be like His Son Jesus. Then, as far as what I do on this Earth, I think he’s like “Okay, I’m going to make you with certain gifts – different kinds of gifts – and you’re gonna use those gifts to point to Me and to let people know that I love them and I made them for Me and I sent My Son Jesus (for them). So, I would say that I believe He made me to be somebody that inspires people to look to their Creator and to put there hope in that.
JWK: So, knowing that God is with you in your purpose no matter what empowers you.
NEDY: Exactly. I get my power from Him.
JWK: Is your music one venue in which you believe you’re serving God’s purpose for you?
NEDY: Yes, definitely! Music I would say is the most passionate avenue and most inspiring avenue that I feel created to do and be a part of.
JWK: I know you take your primary inspiration from Christ – but are there other people, whether in your personal life or people we all may know, who have inspired you?
NEDY: Yeah, definitely! From a personal perspective, my siblings I would say inspire me…I never knew Michael Jackson personally, obviously, but a lot of his songs are very inspiring – like We Are the World and Man in the Mirror…Then also Michael Jordan‘s story inspires me a lot. He talks a lot about failing. He’s failed so many times. There’s a great quote that he has (about how) he has failed so many times and that is why he succeeds. Just looking at all of that inspires me to look at my failures as an opportunity for growth and an opportunity for success. It keeps kind of reminding me that even the best of the best, even they fall sometimes – but it’s not about falling. It’s about getting back up.
JWK: Even though Michael Jackson had a tragic end, within his life there were things to draw inspiration from. His life had value.
JWK: So, what’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in five years?
NEDY: I see myself touring the world not just making an earthly impact in people’s lives but an eternal impact and, hopefully, inspiring them to be everything that God made them to be…I would say that’s pretty much the main thing.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11