‘Sesame Street’ Was Made For Black Children

set of sesame street
Briona Lamback
August 11, 2022

There's nothing Blacker than sitting on a stoop in Harlem singing jazzy songs. That was Sesame Street, and whites were big mad – they showed up to set in RIOT GEAR!

Black psychiatrists were worried about the influence TV programming had on our children–especially in a white supremacist country.  

So they did something incredible.

Sesame Street. They created the legendary program for preschool-aged, inner-city Black children, and it was more than about teaching the alphabet. 

Chester Pierce, a psychiatrist, and creator of the microaggression term helped design the show's "hidden curriculum" to build up our children's self-worth by including positive images of us and embodying one of MLK's greatest dreams: beloved community.

Sesame Street was Black AF! The show enlisted guest stars like Shirley Chisolm and Jackie Robinson to help teach lessons, and Nina Simone once sang "Young, Gifted, And Black" on the famous stoop. 

But it's no surprise that whites were mad about all this Blackness. Mississippi public television once refused to air the show, parents fought back, and when the Sesame Street cast visited the state’s capitol local police showed up in riot gear!

White supremacy has always tried to take things made for us by us and co-opt them–but just remember we all know how to get to Sesame Street - and liberation.

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