Sesame Street Promotes Positive Self-Image for African American Girls
Courtesy of NPR
“I Love My Hair” debuted on the Oct. 4 episode of Sesame Street. It was posted on the show’s YouTube page and then women began posting the video on their Facebook pages.
African-American bloggers wrote that it brought them to tears because of the message it sends to young black girls.
Joey Mazzarino, the head writer of Sesame Street, is also a Muppeteer who wrote the song for his daughter. Mazzarino is Italian. He and his wife adopted their 5-year-old daughter, Segi, from Ethiopia when she was a year old.
Mazzarino says he wrote the song after noticing his daughter playing with dolls.
“She wanted to have long blond hair and straight hair, and she wanted to be able to bounce it around,” he tells NPR’s Melissa Block.
Mazzarino says he began to get worried, but he thought it was only a problem that white parents of African-American children have. Then he realized the problem was much larger.
In writing the song, he wanted to say in song what he says to his daughter: “Your hair is great. You can put it in ponytails. You can put it in cornrows. I wish I had hair like you.”
That simple message has caused an outpouring of responses from women. Mazzarino got a call from an African woman who told him the song brought her to tears. “I was amazed, ’cause I sort of wrote this little thing for my daughter, and here this adult woman, it touched her,” he says.
Mazzarino says he’s happy to report that Segi loves the song and her hair.
Why I Posted IT
“I Love My Hair” on Sesame Street. I had to share this video. I receive a lot of questions as well as comments from parents who inquiry different ways to encourage their daughters to embrace their natural hair. This can be a challenge even today even though we see more and more images and advertisements of African American women with natural hair or textured hair styles such as roller sets. The societal norm of long straight “India Remy” is still alive and well in our movies and music videos. But it seem that mainstream America has embraced our African American “roots”. But it is still very easy to argue the contrary. Here’s my question, is this video evidence that our country as a whole is progressive in encouraging self love in the African American community?