Elmo has skin! A relatively obvious fact that still manages to blow my mind. But even more revolutionary is the rest of Elmo and Lupita Nyong’o’s conversation where she educate the eternal two year old monster on skin, what it does, and how it comes in many “beautiful shades and colours.”
The repetition of the world “beautiful” as Elmo describes both Lupita’s brown skin and his own red skin (under the red fur, of course) is a wonderful and simple way to introduce Sesame’s young audience to the idea that every ticklish skin tone they might possess is gorgeous no matter what.
The under seven-year-old set and I may not agree on some things, but we agree on Kevin Clash. Kevin Clash is, to me, that Black guy that you want to go up to and hug because you know his embrace is enveloping with love for humanity.
And he has hugged and played and chatted with several generations of seven-unders and the adults taking care of them, though you may not recognize him. You may recognize his creation:
Just wanted to pause between Kanye posts for something a little lighter. Lyrics are still very much NSFW, but the visuals have at least 50% less dead bodies. And Cookie Monster and The Count teaming up on the Jay-Z section. Hm. How many Jiggas? TWO! TWO JIGGAS! AH AH AH!
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.
In the early 1980s the Reagan Administration engaged in an active campaign to demonize welfare and welfare recipients. Those who received public assistance were depicted as lazy free-loaders who burdened good, hard-working taxpayers. Race and gender played major parts in this framing of public assistance: the image of the “welfare queen” depicted those on welfare as lazy, promiscuous women who used their reproductive ability to have more children and thus get more welfare. This woman was implicitly African American, such as the woman in an anecdote Reagan told during his 1976 campaign (and repeated frequently) of a “welfare queen” on the South Side of Chicago who supposedly drove to the welfare office to get her check in an expensive Cadillac (whether he had actually encountered any such woman, as he claimed, was of course irrelevant).
The campaign was incredibly successful: once welfare recipients were depicted as lazy, promiscuous Black women sponging off of (White) taxpayers, public support for welfare programs declined. The negative attitude toward both welfare and its recipients lasted after Reagan left office; the debate about welfare reform in the mid-1990s echoed much of the discourse from the 1980s. Receiving public assistance was shameful; being a recipient was stigmatized.
Abby K. recently found an old Sesame Street segment called “I Am Somebody.” Jesse Jackson leads a group of children in an affirmation that they are “somebody,” and specifically includes the lines “I may be poor” and “I may be on welfare”.