I am not ashamed of the fact that I love Sesame Street. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember. And when I grew up, I loved it even more than I did as a child, because I was able to see how much good Sesame Street was doing, not just in my own community, but around the world. Sesame Street was created to educate poorer inner city kids and middle class kids alike, and the street they called Sesame featured people, muppets and monsters from all walks of life. The characters created on the show were created to help children understand real world problems, in a way that felt accessible rather then intimidating or boring (as other educational programs often felt to me). And over the years, new characters and new songs have been introduced to address more and more issues.
In class, we recently watched the film Good Hair, which is a documentary about the hair industry and the expectations and insecurities in the African-American community surrounding hair. One part of the film discusses the young African-American girls (or in some cases, the girls parents) who are unhappy with their natural hair. They believe that to be “beautiful,” one needs to have relaxed, straight hair. And this was an issue that Joey Mazzarino, head writer of Sesame Street, also saw unfolding in his home. He and his wife adopted their 5-year-old daughter, Segi, from Ethiopia. But one day, he noticed that she began talking about how she wanted different hair, long hair, blond hair. And so Mazzarino deiced to do something about it. The results were the video seen above. A beautiful tribute from a little girl about her natural hair.
The video is fantastic, and became a hit (with over 4,000,000 views on YouTube) , not just with children, but with parent as well. As Angel Jordan discusses in her article Loving ‘I Love My Hair’, many adults wish that they had a video like this when they were a child, to help them to love their hair. And for some parents, they are thrilled they have a fun and exciting way to talk to their children about loving their hair. And it is an extremely important message, and one that should be told to every child, because no child should be ashamed of any part of themselves. Love your hair, love your body, love yourself.