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Black Muppets

Source: Sesame Street / Sesame Street

From its inception, Sesame Street was designed with the people in mind. The entire show was created to help prepare children, specifically marginalized, disenfranchised children, for school.

In 2019, Smithsonian Mag wrote an entire article explaining how the show was rooted in African American culture.

Joan Ganz Cooney, the creator of Sesame Street, was deeply involved in a Harlem pre-school program that would eventually become Head Start. As a result, she said in a 1998 interview that she had “become absolutely involved intellectually and spiritually with the Civil Rights Movement and with the educational deficit that poverty created.”

Cooney consistently employed several Black educational experts for the show’s program and hired Chester Pierce, a psychiatrist and Harvard professor, who helped to design the show’s “hidden curriculum” in an attempt to uplift the self-worth of Black children through positive Black images.

It’s a legacy that continues today. While Black people have been a part of Sesame Street’s history, in front and behind the camera, from the onset, this year, as the show celebrates its 50th anniversary, they’re introducing Black muppets.

Sesame Street recently announced that they releasing a new “ABCs of Racial Literacy” program designed to help teach children about race and racism. The program includes a 5-year-old Black muppet named Wes and his 35-year-old father Elijah.

Wes and Elijah were introduced to the program through Elmo. Elijah and Wes educate Elmo about melanin and how features like our skin, nose and hair texture are important parts of who we are as human beings.

I don’t have to tell you how important hair is to Black people. Thankfully, Sesame Street hired a talented Black hair stylist to create the hair for these characters.

Brooklyn hairstylist Kamilah Gerestant , known for knotless braids, was tapped to create the looks for Wes and Elijah.

On Instagram, Gerestant wrote about the opportunity to work for Sesame Street.

“On one hand I want to say: I told you when this all started, I changed careers late & I didn’t have a plan. I push through everything a little scared. But I push through…Fist fighting the air.

No matter how great the blessing, I am still just a girl from BROOKLYN who loves to braid.

So moments like this??? Is for that little girl in me. Being a part of this powerul initiative with @sesamestreet is another divine wink frim GOD to keep doing what I’m doing: Mind MY business and keep my heart clean!!!

On the other hand, I want to say: BROOKLYN & TRINIDAD WE DID IT…AGAIN😝STOP PLAYIN WITH GODs CHILDREN!!!!!! We OUTCHEA!!!! YA GIRL IS ON THESE STREETS BABY!!! 🗣SESAME STREET!!!!!

Either way you take it…This?
Is LEGACY!!!!!!!!!!⭐

Thank you @hensoncompany & @sesamestreet for trusting me to bring the natural hair of such important new characters to LIFE and trusting my input as a natural hair stylist for your vision!!!!!!!

Last but not least thank you @mistercorvette for SEEING me, trusting me & believing in me.”

The journey continues!!!!!”

Gerestant did such a good job with the characters, people suggested that she begin working for Tyler Perry.

This was a beautiful moment. But women particularly have noted how good Wes’ daddy looks. And they haven’t been shy about sharing their admiration. See what they had to say on the following pages.

Check out some of the reactions to this new reveal on the following pages.

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