Diversity & TV News

Diversity & TV News: Analysis, Critiques, and Research

Great Topic for My 1st Post: Sesame Street’s “I Love My Hair” Video

with 8 comments

“I Love My Hair”:  Sesame Street created a cute video to discuss a serious problem.

ABC News’ Linsey Davis and Jessica Hopper placed a widely discussed topic in the African-American community into the forefront of the country earlier this week.  They highlighted a new Sesame Street video, “I Love My Hair.”  Click here for the story aired on ABC’s World News Tonight. 

The video showcases a little brown-skinned muppet singing about her love for her hair, and all the different ways she can wear it.  

A producer for Sesame Street came up with the song and idea after his adopted daughter, who’s from Africa, complained about wanting straight hair.  The producer, who is white, wanted to show his daughter and others like her that they should love and accept their hair.  Click here for an extended interview from CNN’s American Morning with the Sesame Street producer, Joseph Mazzarino. 

I believe this is a great topic as a father of two beautiful little girls and I’m glad Sesame Street signed off on the project.  But it does raise a bigger issue about diversity and a lack thereof in the media world.  Black girls and women have been shown examples of beauty from their dolls, tv shows, and movies for years.  Those images typically lack any representation of the African-American community, and when they do the women will reflect the majorities standard of beauty:  long, silky, straight hair. 

This character shows a need for more characters on television shows for kids, teens, and adults to represent the multifaceted layers of beauty within the African-American community.  You also need to see it more in front of the television camera on your nightly local, cable, and national newscasts.  So, you need more decision makers to sign off on the idea and more producers and directors to encourage the various looks.

After looking through Sesame Street’s website I see this isn’t their first time to bring out a brown muppet to teach a lesson.  They have Kingston III who talks about individuality.  He sings about fighting the stereotype that he needs to act, dance, or dress a certain way to fit in with others.  Click here to see videos of Kingston III. 

Kudos to Sesame Street. I would just like to see these characters become more constant figures within the episodes.  It would also be great if my little curly-haired princesses could see some more girls and women who look like them on TV, so that they truly understand mommy and daddy aren’t the only ones who think they are beautiful.

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Written by professorkcoleman

October 21, 2010 at 12:34 PM

8 Responses

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  1. I loved the video, but I have to agree with you. Although this is a huge step for Sesame Street and children’s television in general, there should be no reason why this video should have gone viral. The fact that this video went viral means that not enough of this type of beauty is being represented on television.

    I am glad this video was made and the message is powerful for many black young girls, but it would be a better day, when I don’t have to get this excited about seeing a black character with natural hair because It would be common.

    Delrisha

    October 24, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    • Hopefully one day, this type of video will be commonplace or not even needed. Thank you for taking the time to post on this subject.

      professorkcoleman

      October 28, 2010 at 6:54 PM

  2. How cute! However; the real problem is that so many African Americans don’t love their hair. I worked in the natural hair-care industry for years. I can give you 1000+ derogatory comments about our hair from our people. I have heard them from the educated and uneducated, the rich and the poor, the married and the single.

    Until we (African-Americans)embrace it, mainstream culture will still continue to look at a sister with natural hair and stick the militant, rebel, defiant sterotype label on her.

    I once had a permed-out, no edges, 1.5inches of thin, damaged hair sister tell me, “your hair would be so beautiful it you had a perm”, my response was it’s beautiful now. She repeated herself, so too did I, with an attitude.

    I have been natural all my life except for 1 year in junior high school. I have been dealing with these types of comments for my entire life. It’s not THEM, it’s US.

    Why did it take a white producer with an african child, not a black producer with a black child?

    Timogi

    October 25, 2010 at 1:06 PM

  3. I was not shocked at the video displaying a puppet embracing African American hair. What suprised me was that a Cauasian man created this idea for other producers to air. I commend him for being able to recognize this as an issue in the Black community and to take actions towards accpetance.

    In this case, I believe that ignorance is the cause for self-hatred and jugement. Withought knowing the endless hairstyles that Black hair can achieve, how can one get the chance to love their hair (hint:Blacks). Like wise, how can a Cauasian understand the true hair care for Blacks if one do not seek to understand (hint: Caucasins). Thus, ignorance is the case of not knowing and is the hinderance to acceptance.

    The twist of a Caucaisn man as the one who created this idea affected me personally. I’m in a relationship with a Caucasin male and started to realize the many assumptions he had about Black people’s hair. I felt that it was my duty to enlighten him on the different hair textures, the proper hair care, and most importantly the issues that surrounded hair in the Black community. We all can end this stigma that straight hair is good hair and that coily hair is bad. Just how the producer from Sesame Street is empowering his daughter to understand and appreciate her beauty, I will empower my campanion and others to do the same.

    Ajoya Long

    October 29, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    • Thank you for commenting and sharing your own personal story. I think it’s important to take every opportunity you can to enlighten those who don’t know about you and your culture, especially a loved one.

      professorkcoleman

      October 30, 2010 at 8:41 PM

  4. Images of people of African descent in the media usually fall into two categories. One, their presence on most mainstream shows and commercials is either limited or token. Two, in extended roles their character usually plays into some type of racial or ethnic stereotype. Although there are a few exceptions, these principles are the norm. Above all of the gender and racial insensitivity displayed through show scripts and filmed commercials, one has to be cognizant of the history that produced these distorted images. Until we as Americans face our blemished past of racial difference and begin to make a concerted effort to create true unity, our misguided ideas about each other will continue to prevail and promote division.

    Dr. Robinson

    October 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    • Thank you for lending your insight to this discussion. You touched on some very key issues that hinder how the world and African-Americans see themselves.

      professorkcoleman

      October 30, 2010 at 8:43 PM


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