Who will become Kid of the Year for 2021? The answer will be revealed on February 9 during a TV special on Nickelodeon. In the weeks leading up to the show, we’ll be introducing the top five nominees. Read on!
“Music is where everything started,” Samirah Horton says. The 13-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, is known to the world as DJ Annie Red. She has been rapping and performing since she was 6 years old. Through music, DJ Annie Red says, “I can express myself. I can let out my emotion.”COURTESY THE HORTON FAMILY
The rising hip-hop star uses music to share a message about bullying. “I was bullied a lot,” she says. “I still am bullied now, especially because of my voice.” DJ Annie Red has a deep, raspy voice. People have told her she sounds like a boy.
But DJ Annie Red has found a way to rise above their insults. Instead of thinking of her voice as a weakness, she uses it to spread her antibullying message far and wide. She encourages kids of all ages, everywhere, to stand up to bullying. “You’re never too young to make a change,” she says.
Sharing Her Songs
DJ Annie Red has performed at youth-empowerment events, festivals—and Brooklyn Nets games, as the pro basketball team’s “kid resident DJ.” She posts her music online, too.COURTESY THE HORTON FAMILY
She also performs at schools. She likes to give students “a catchy, rhythmic, interactive show” while teaching them how to overcome and prevent bullying. She says she wants to help kids who are suffering from bullying “feel like they’re not alone.”
During her presentations, DJ Annie Red has mixed music, held dance contests, and asked students to make an antibullying pledge . She has also read from her 2017 book, The Bully Stop. It’s based on her song “No You Won’t Bully Me.”COURTESY THE HORTON FAMILY
DJ Annie Red believes that standing up to bullying is more important than ever. That’s partly because people can bully others on social media while hiding behind a username. “You don’t have to show your face at all,” she says. “Someone could easily be affected by that.”
But she sees a brighter future ahead. DJ Annie Red believes that kids of her generation can make things better by finding their passions—and using those passions to inspire change, as she has. “That’s something I really enjoy seeing,” she says. “Kids being more confident in themselves and wanting to do something that they really enjoy doing is something that motivates me to keep doing what I do.”COURTESY THE HORTON FAMILY