Open Thread: Sesame Street Spreads Black (Women’s) Hair Love

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I guess if anyone had to offer a corrective to the Black (Women’s) Hair Debate™, it had to be Sesame Street.

And if the YouTube comments (as if my submitting this) are any indication, quite a few people really appreciate what the PBS show did, with some lament of wishing this was on for them when they were little.

“I felt really warm & fuzzy after seeing this.”

“I love this video! It is so cute, and so many young girls need to see this video. Definitely didn’t have anything like this when I was younger.”

“<3 SESAME STREET you are so awesome! Thank you so much for this! <3″

“This is the most revolutionary thing i’ve seen in a looong time. And it feels sooo good too!”

“I WANT TO CRY! I could have used this back when I was little…and it’s still motivating being that I still watch Sesame Street as an adult.”

“I love this song! Sesame Street is on point with this one. I’m showing this in my class tomorrow! Love it!”

“I just watched this video for the first time and loved it :) I am so glad that sesame street has this! I think its great because itll boost the confidence of little black girls to accept their natural hair as they can relate to this and know that they are still beautiful just like anyone else with any other grain of hair! :)

i love it :)”

“am so glad that a show like Sesame Street is reiterating such a message. It helps not only young black children, but children of all races — acknowledging, embracing, and celebrating aspects of each other. That is fantastic!!! Thank you Sesame Street!! ALL CHILDREN’S TV SHOWS NEED TO TAKE NOTE!!!”

“As a father of Two Girls , one Mixed Race and one Black . They have to deal with this issue A lot. Their non-black peers , some tend to make fun of their curly hair , some parents even told them about using relaxer (that made me angry). I have decided even before this NO MORE Relaxer in my Daughters Hair. I love their hair too!”

“THANK YOU SESAME STREET!! I AM NATURAL, MY SISTERS, MY MUM AND I AM GOING TO SHOW THIS TO MY NIECES TOO!

PLEASE SHOW YOUR DAUGHTERS THIS VIDEO WHATEVER YOUR HAIR IS CURLY, WAVE, AFRO., AND WHATEVER RACE YOU ARE TOO!

LOVE YOURSELF WHAT GOD GIVE YOU.”

“I’m Hawaiian, with really curly “hula hair” (my family’s term for it- lol!), and I grew up in Illinois with lots of caucasian children. So everyone around me had long straight hair, little noses, etc., and I got teased a lot for looking different and having a “fro”, because I didn’t look like anyone else. I wish Sesame Street did this one when I was a kid! Bravo, Sesame Street!!!”

A critique or two:

“I LOOOOOOOOVE this! This means that people are starting to accept african/african american hair, and that it’s becoming main stream….I am really LOVE this…I almost cried :) but um…natural hair people dont go to salons?? I mean I know she meant that she dont have to get it straighten, but still lol….um yeah Sesame Street, we gonna let yall slide w/ that one ha.”

With a dig or two at BET

“it is so sad that BET can’t do anything like this.”

“BET is too busy ruining the way we see ourselves, to do stuff like this.”

And this:

“I love this video! But to the people saying “I wish something like this had been on TV when I was growing up” do you really think that would have made you NOT get a relaxer (if you got one) or stopped anyone else? It’s up to parents to teach their children to love themselves how they are and what they have, not television programs.”

I’m not going to lie:  I think this is pretty darn cute, too.  Even with the adorable, my quibble is that the video assumes 1) there’s only one natural state  of Black hair (curly), when there are many (though the video caught a few), 2) it assumes, as one of the commenters stated above, that only Black people can naturally grow ‘fros, which isn’t true, 3) that the only ones who need such affirmation are cis girls, not cis boys or any child who’s trans or gender non-conforming who has similar hair.  Also, what about us baldies, regardless of our gender? ;-)

Then again, I have to check my own assumption: though the muppet is brown, I’m assuming the muppet’s phenotype–based on seeing the ‘fro, the twists/locs, the braids, the pigtails in succession–is Black because the only group I see rocking those varieties of looks are women of African descent.  So, my bad on that faulty line of thinking.

That’s where I’m at so far with this video. What do you think about this Sesame Street segment?

ETA: Here are the lyrics:

Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop,
’cause I love what I got on top.
It’s curly and it’s brown and it’s right up there!
You know what I love? That’s right, my hair!
I really love my hair.
I love my hair. I love my hair.
There’s nothing else that can compare with my hair.
I love my hair, so I must declare:
I really, really, really love my hair.
Wear a clippy or in a bow
Or let it sit in an afro
My hair looks good in a cornrow
It does so many things you know, that’s why I let it grow
I love my hair, I love my hair
I love it and I have to share
I love my hair, I love my hair!
I want to make the world aware I love my hair.
I wear it up. I wear down. I wear it twisted all around.
I wear braids and pigtails too.
I love all the things my hair can do.
In barrettes or flying free, ever perfect tresses you’ll see
My hair is part of me, an awesome part of me
I really love my hair!