So I called two of my daughters, Mikaela and Kaitlin, over to my laptop and told them I wanted them to watch something. I didn’t make a statement about the video I simply just clicked the play button because I wanted a true, honest assessment about what they were about to watch.
They watched a little brown Sesame Street puppet with a head-full of fuzzy hair declare and sing in a sweet tune about how much she loves her hair. She says she doesn’t need a trip to the beauty shop because she loves what she’s got on top. She sings and sings about how much she loves her hair and how nothing else compares. From afro styles to cornrows, the little puppet declares she loves her hair. She wants to make the world aware, she loves her hair.
When the video was finished I asked my girls what did they think. Mikaela, the 6-year-old said she loved it because “it tells you about all the styles like cornrows. It was nice that she loves her hair.” Kaitlin, my 8-year-old, said, “I didn’t like the singing.”
Ok, so on one hand I’ve got a daughter who can appreciate good commentary and on the other I’ve got a budding Wendy Williams. Go figure.
But I must say I LOVE and appreciate Sesame Street for bringing real appreciation into the homes of every little brown girl who has been brainwashed to think her hair is anything other than beautiful.
Mothers have tried for years to tell their little girls that just because their hair was curly didn’t mean there was something wrong with it. Little brown girls across the country have for years compared their hair to their white friends’ long yellow locks.
I will never forget in 1st grade, I did just that. I remember coming home from school and asking my mom why my hair wasn’t yellow. I remember taking t-shirts and placing them on my head so my t-shirt hair could swing like the little white girls in my class.
I remember feeling like there was something “wrong” with me because my hair wasn’t “right”. Little brown girls can’t be made to feel like their hair is “not right.” But they do everyday.
They look at tv and videos and Hannah Montana and ICarly and shows that do not reflect the beauty of who they are. They want to be what they often see.
So when an institution like Sesame Street takes the time to truly educate children by making them understand that they too are beautiful from their cornrows to their kinky locks, it truly is a great accomplishment–of understanding.
The “others” finally understand that children of color exist and having kinky hair is ok and should be appreciated. We can’t be defined by our hair, just like we can’t be defined by our skin color. Unless your hair is just truly raggity and you know what I mean. You gotta at least keep it tight.
Thank you to Sesame Street for this cute little video that will reach into the mental psyche of many children who I hope will now look differently at their hair, learn to love it– and WHIP IT BACK and FORTH!