We live in a Selfie World.
No sooner did a group of students from Bellevue’s Highland Middle School realize that they were standing on Safeco Field with Mariners star pitcher “King Felix” Hernandez and, moments later, Macklemore, they went for their smartphones.
Rather than take in the surprise that had been cooked up — and kept — by the Seattle Mariners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle and several children’s and anti-violence organizations, the students pointed, pressed and posted.
Ah, but they were nice to each other — which was the whole idea.
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The students were brought to Safeco — on their spring break — to film an anti-bullying public-service announcement with the Mariners Moose.
“I kept saying, ‘You really want to do this,’” said their teacher, Zack Daniels.
They gathered on the field, excited but obedient, and watched the Moose do two or three takes that just weren’t good enough for director Matthew J. Clark.
Clark called “Cut!” and said he had a friend who might help out. Cue Hernandez, who emerged from the Mariners dugout in uniform with his arms raised, then waded into the scrum. The boys dived in for high-fives.
Clark called them back to order and had Hernandez walk with the Moose toward the kids. Two takes, and then Hernandez called it to a stop once again.
“I got somebody who can help,” he said, “Hey, Macklemore!”
Heads turned and the rapper emerged from the dugout in skinny jeans, vintage red Air Jordans and a baseball jacket with a tiger on the front and “Seattle” on the back. (It was custom-made by Ebbets Field Flannels, which will release a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis collection on June 12 — Macklemore Bobblehead Night at Safeco).
Once the shock wore off and the pictures were taken, Hernandez and the kids — still a little stunned — looked into the camera while Macklemore did repeated takes of the slogan for the new, anti-bullying campaign: “Together, we can change the game.”
The campaign was started by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Diaz, modeled after a similar effort in Detroit. Diaz approached the Mariners, who later brought in the Committee for Children and the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.
Everyone agreed that there had to be a better way to get the anti-bullying message across.
Enter Macklemore, who not only has a long relationship with the Mariners but raps about diversity and tolerance.
“You can hear it in his music,” said Gregg Greene, Mariners senior director of marketing. “The message of individuality and being yourself really resonates with him.”
He is also a natural point of entry — and point of pride — with kids.
“When he came out, I though: ‘Oh, my gosh, this is not happening!’ ” said Sunny Ye, 14, who was also celebrating her birthday. “This is the best gift I’ve ever received.”
There was one last surprise for the students: Signed pictures of Hernandez and Macklemore.
Keeper photos that they didn’t have to take themselves.
Nicole Brodeur: firstname.lastname@example.org