‘Sesame Street’ is taking a bold step in addressing and helping with conversations on race and identity. That comes from adding to new characters to its ever-growing roster.
The longtime PBS and HBO Max television show has added two new Black Muppets, a five-year-old named Wes and his father Elijah, as part of its current mission to provide “age-appropriate language and strategies” when it comes to dealing with race-related issues and subjects.
Sesame Workshop, the production company behind ‘Street,’ made the announcement on March 23 on the new characters, who “are designed to help all families celebrate their own identities.”
The recent additions to ‘Street’ have already started appearing in projects related to the show.
From WKYC 3News Cleveland:
Wes and Elijah first make their first appearance in a new “ABCs of Racial Literacy” resources video where Elmo wants to know why their skin is brown. Elijah helps explain the concept of melanin and how the color of someone’s skin is an important part of who they are.
“The color of our skin is an important part of who we are, but we should all know that it’s OK that we all look different in so many ways,” Elijah says.
Here is a glimpse of Wes and Elijah below in a video titled “Explaining What is Race?” with the hashtag #ComingTogether.
That is just one of many videos that Sesame Workshop has presented that are “explaining and celebrating different races” to help viewers, specifically children, better understand the issues and challenges that are have always been happening nationwide, but have been brought to attention a lot more publicly in recent years thanks to social media.
One other video that has been released called “I Am Somebody (Giant Song” where a lot of the characters, including Wes, “sing about their own unique identities.”
There’s also an upcoming video involving an incident at a grocery store titled and how the characters deal with that situation.
It is part of the “ABCs of Racial Literacy” to help “build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more,” as mentioned in a recent press release from Sesame Workshop.
Senior vice president Jeanette Betancourt has said that her organization sees “every issue through the lens of a child” and adds that kids “are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age.”
The press release also mentioned that its information has been “rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children.”
This continues to be part of ‘Sesame Street’s’ mission to educate and entertain kids, while also addressing the world that is happening around them.
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Article Courtesy of WKYC 3News Cleveland
First Picture Courtesy of NBC and Getty Images
Second Picture Courtesy of Jeff Grossman and WENN
First and Second Video Courtesy of Sesame Workshop, YouTube and WKYC 3News Cleveland