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Sesame Street videoIf you live in the US, are an African American parent, or the parent of a black child, by now you must have seen the Sesame Street video about hair… and read all the comments about it in different blogs.
But you may still wonder why now? Why a black puppet with African hair just right now? After all, Sesame Street has been on TV since 1969… that’s 41 years!! 
Well, it seems that the subject of African American hair has never appeared before so openly. Can you believe that?
I have my theory.
First, it has to do with a lack of black voices in public television, American TV is still a white business, and black actors, characters, journalists, etc, have always been relegated to secondary positions or to be part of the “crowd”.
Second, I think that African hair has been hidden, and was felt like something shameful, a sad legacy of slavery.
Kevin "Elmo" ClashThird, there’s been a new trend among African Americans, specially women, to start to appreciate their hair, to be proud of it, to leave old prejudices behind and love it in its natural curly form.
And lastly, due to the increase in transracial adoptions, white people have started to learn about African hair, its care, issues and history.
Early this year, the movie Good Hair put black hair on movie theaters all over America. Even when some other movies and books dealt with the subject before, it took a famous person like Chris Rock to “discover” the hidden truth about black hair and show it to the big audience.
Sesame Street has a record of casting actors of different races, for example the most famous puppet of the neighborhood currently comes alive thanks to the black actor/puppeteer Kevin Clash. However, there has never been a clearly black puppet talking about his/her hair before.
In case you haven’t heard the story elsewhere, it was a white man, the adoptive parent of an Ethiopian girl, the one who created the character of the black little girl that sings about her hair. Yeah, I know, a white man.
But the truth is that white people are starting to approach black culture from a different angle than before. Many of us are now parents of black children born abroad or in the US, and hopefully have learned that in order to raise them we NEED to know about their culture, we need to build bridges for them.
Most of the African American community in the US had great positive comments about this video regarding who came up with the idea. There were some partially negative opinions, but very few.
In a time when despite, or because of, having a black president America is going through a rough period of racism and prejudice, this video is a breath of fresh air.

alicia
AliciA