As a member of the “Sesame Street” generation (I was 3 when it premiered), I was reminded today of why it’s still relevant. There’s a new “Sesame Street” song that teaches little black girls to love their hair. The late Gerald Lesser would be proud. Why is this so important? Well first, there’s a clear media message absorbed by all young girls about the preferred standard of beauty. The average American model is 5-foot-10, 110 pounds and white.
In her early days as a comic, Whoopi Goldberg created a heartbreaking character, a little black girl who would always wear a towel on her head so she could have “long, luxurious hair” like her dolls. Then there’s also the complicated politics of black hair. What does it mean about your ethnic identity if you wear your hair natural or if you have it chemically processed to look straight? Chris Rock tackled the subject in his brutally honest documentary, “Good Hair.” I was cornered once by a network news producer who begged me to straighten my hair.
I didn’t do it. But by then I was a grown woman. Let me tell you, I would have loved to have seen that “Sesame Street” video when I was five.