October 19, 2010
I Love My Hair
I saw this today and loved it. I read the criticisms and, honestly, I still love it!
Let's be realistic-- We can wax on eloquently about the hairstyles that this little muppet has. We can discuss that she sings one thing and her hair is doing something else. Or we could just be happy that Sesame Street produced such a cute, affirming video for African-American girls who have hair envy.
I don't think the Sesame Street crowd notices that our lovely muppet's hair gets a 'relaxed' look halfway through for a few seconds or that she gets incredibly long braided extensions towards the end. She's singing about loving her afro and cornrows. She's a lovable muppet! How could you be so upset and read into this song so much as to get angry. This is a great thing for my afro-wearing daughter to see! Affirmation that she does have wonderful hair that she can wear in so many amazing styles. It's great.
The story behind the video makes it even better. Here's the article from NPR:
A little Muppet girl has started a sensation. The unnamed puppet with an afro sings a love song to her hair.
"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.