October 14th, 2010
Beauty, Fashion Discussion, Hair
Not Everyone Loves “I Love my Hair”
By Claire


Beauty and Fashion blogger Afrobella recently posted a link to a Sesame Street video called, ‘I Love my Hair.”

In the clip, a muppet of African-American descent sings enthusiastically about the versatility of her locks. She says, “I really love my hair/Wear a clippy or in a bow/Or let it sit in an Afro/My hair looks good in a cornrow/It doesn’t so many things you know, that’s why I let it grow.”
Refreshing and sweet, it’s hard to think that anyone could find fault with a nursery tune meant to positively reinforce natural hair for young children of color. But a few commenters took to Bella’s Facebook Page to complain. Angela said, “I’m thinking this muppet is a little over the top – the subtle implications are apparent – so how many muppets does one see singing I love my hair. The best way is for more representation and inclusion in their programing of kids with natural hair not a muppet singing I love my hair. I don’t see this muppet as adorable or cute. It just brings to mind “minstrelsy.” She went on to say, “It’s not necessary to make a big deal about loving her hair to kids of that age. It just highlights the issue and makes it a bigger deal than is necessary. If she is part of the group of the other muppets then it makes the point that her natural hair is just fine.”

With black children, I think a song is necessary. Images we see everyday reinforce the ideal of straight, silky hair, which causes many girls to dislike their natural coils. When you’re older, you can choose to do what you like with your hair, depending on your lifestyle and personality. But many young girls think that textured hair is ugly. Do we need to revisit ‘Good Hair’?

What do you think of the song and the varied reactions?

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67 comments

67 Responses to “Not Everyone Loves “I Love my Hair””

  1. Kapri_H says:

    I LOVE it, and I smiled the whole time while watching it! I will definitely show this to my 2 year old daughter and favorite it on Youtube. Young children do have issues with their hair. I have been around kids as young as 4 that use the term “nappy hair”. My 7 year old niece insists on getting her hair pressed because its “prettier”. My sister makes it worse by saying its more manageable when its straight. Its sad. I don’t want a perm, pressing comb, flat iron, or even a blowdryer to be a THOUGHT in a little brown girls head.
    *sigh* I love Sesame Street.

  2. I LOVE this video. And I love it even more since a friend told me it was created by a white father who wanted his adopted Ethiopian daughter to embrace her hair. All little black girls need to see this video.
    My mother permed my hair when I was only 5 years old and I grew up thinking there was something wrong with my hair in its natural state. I wish I had this video back then!

    Kudos to Sesame Street.

  3. I don’t see anything wrong with the song or muppet at all.

  4. aj says:

    i think some people need to stfu and get a life. not everything needs to be over analyzed.

  5. Vonnie says:

    kids who are watching that AREN’T thinking about being othered, so she is completely overanalyzing it from an adult perspective. blonde hair is already shouted as being the most beautiful for CENTURIES and straight hair is SHOWN as the most desirable, so why shouldn’t a black muppet get a chance to sing and show black girls that their hair is great too? Many little black girls put towels on their heads to pretend to have the long flowing locks that they SAW as being desirable, it’s about time that they can SEE their hair as being desirable as is too.

  6. kingsmomma says:

    While i think the video is cute I think the commentor may have a point.
    So what happens now that the episode already aired and the character is no longer a part of the show. Teaching children acceptance of one’s self is a harder task than simply creating a 5 minute song. While I think this is a great step in teh right direction there needs to be more than just this.
    I watch sesame street as well as other cartoons with my child and the images have a bit of diversity but for the most part my son’s image is lacking.
    I did think this was a bit over the top but I got the point that they’re trying to make a statement to children in 5 minutes. It has to be exaggerated.

    I think the bigger issue isn’t teaching children that their hair is great, it’s teaching their mothers that their childrens’ hair is great in its natural state.

  7. Angel says:

    I absolutely loved this and saw it last night when you tweeted it! If I had a little girl I’d definitely love showing this to her and making sure that she knows that her curls are beautiful. I think that the person who left the comments on the page about it being unnecessary and just pointing out what other muppets may have already sang is really taking the issue and disecting it and making it seem as if it’s saying only natural hair is beautiful. Little girls already feel as if their hair should be like ‘Barbie’s’ so I find it refreshing that the people at sesame street took the time to show something directly to our African American children or all children with hair that has texture…so I just love this! I posted it on my fb:)

  8. Beelle says:

    I think its cute. The point is that already at a young age young children have internalized the message that what grows out of their head naturally is not acceptable and the people who are complaining need to lighten up because if I had seen that as a child I know it would have affected me.

  9. yusufswifee says:

    I like it…

  10. taya says:

    I think this is a very small step in the right direction. Our kids see a constant barrage of images of people on tv who don’t have the same characteristics as them. It’s hard to overcome that. I like what Sesame Street is doing.

  11. Dari says:

    I loved this video the first time I saw it. I still do.
    Anyone who has a problem clearly doesn’t watch this type of children’s programming. Sesame Street probably has the most black children rocking their own hair. This muppet isn’t a permanent character because most aren’t. They created this muppet for this song. And with youtube and blogs, it’ll be around for a long time.

  12. binks says:

    I think it is cute, people need to stop complaining because clearly they have to much time on their hands. Children, especially black girls need this because growing up long, straight, and flowly Barbie like hair was everywhere which made a lot of little girls feel bad even till this day so the video is highly important and good.

  13. CJ says:

    I see nothing wrong with this video. I would want my daugther to know that her (Natural) hair is beautiful regardless of what we see on TV. The muppet is cute and Im glad its reaching out to young girls! I’m not against perms or weaves at all but it hurts to see a young child go throught a transition with hair at such an early age.

    Sesame Street this was very smart. I commend you on this.

  14. Layla says:

    I think the song was awesome and will plan on showing it to my daughter. I appreciate Sesame Street for being including african american children in their programming. I don’t understand why this song would considered offensive. This song will help african american kids gravitate and appreciate our hair texture in it’s natural form as opposed to longing for what’s considered to be good hair. KUDOS to the writers on Sesame Street. They got it right!!!

  15. kingsmomma says:

    I have to wonder whether it is external pressure on children that make them want to have the silky long hair or whether the longing for straight hair comes from inside the home.
    I know this is anecdotal at best but i don’t ever recall wanting barbie like hair, i only got a perm b/c i figured if they’re going to straighten with a hot comb why not get a perm.
    i think the hair issue begins at home and messages shuold be directed at the people who care for the children’s hair as well.

  16. Aishia SoGlam says:

    I think that this song is sooo cute!!! I could totally see children being mesmerized by this song! Someone really needs to take the stick out there butt if the have a problem with this song. Take it from someone who has been explaining AA hair to women of various ethnicites, which I’ve been doing since the age of 15 and I am 31….I think this will answer some questions for those folks who are not exposed to AA culture!

    However this video doesn’t just apply to AA girls but any girl with hair that her mom, dad or caregiver can’t seem to comb or style properly.

  17. beautifuldaidreamer says:

    I love the video, the song, the puppet AND her hair. Just as Dari stated, most of the puppets aren’t regulars. Perhaps she’ll be back, but even if she’s not, the fact that Sesame Street thought to include her and highlight what has ALWAYS been a sensitive subject among little Black girls, is touching. I have a young son with a curly afro and I want him to love his hair too. It’s important to show children at a young age that there is nothing wrong with loving themselves JUST how God made them. Not with a relaxer, not with a low cut caesar w/ deep waves. We don’t have to manipulate our children’s hair for them to love who they are. And I love that this puppet (on a show that millions of little children watch) reinforces that.

  18. beautifuldaidreamer says:

    Also to this: “so how many muppets does one see singing I love my hair”

    A better question, “How many children, outside of Black children, do you see having their hair chemically altered at the young age of 5?” Now THAT’S a problem

  19. We need songs like this now in the way that we needed “Black is Beautiful” chants in the ’60s and ’70s. It will take equal amounts of re-programming to un-do all of the miseducation that has led us to believe that straight hair is beautiful hair and that curly, or kinky hair is an affliction that needs curing.

  20. sade says:

    I LOVED it! I watched it last night w/my 7 yr old daughter and SHE loved it. She laughed, she smiled, she yelled “i wear a fro!”…and i was enamored with it. It is absolutely necessary for our children to love their hair at 5, at 7..at 2 etc etc…school age children face soo much and at younger and younger ages. My question wld be why NOT? Why NOT create a song which showcases a love for curly, kinky, afro’d, cornrowed hair?

  21. saavy says:

    Angela just shut up, please.

  22. Cleveland Cutie says:

    I love the video! I wish I had something like this growing up as well. And I heavily agree with both beautifuldaidreamer and beantownbrown and the reader who said that the MOTHERS (and fathers) of these little girls also need this video! I am 29 y/o and still have pressure from my mother and the other members of my family (women and men) to straighten my hair, I hope that if I am blessed to have a daughter one day that I will be able to teach her to love her hair in ANY form, but especially to know that her natural form is something that should be treasured and recognized for its beauty and uniqueness (word?). I love this blog!

  23. Taylor says:

    Loved the video. And the commentary has a point too. They are not contradictory to one another. Both have a point.

  24. jacqui says:

    are “we” ever happy? when we’re finally included in things we always have to complain. some things need to be analyzed but this was not one of them. good for sesame street, my hair is natural and i loved it when i watched it with my son.

  25. sun.kissed says:

    I saw this on tv last week and my only gripe was that the muppet’s afro was too short to be put in the other hair dos which made it seem as though she was wearing weaves…but the song itself is great and I’m glad to see that Sesame Street is doing their part to build the self esteem of little black girls.

  26. nicky says:

    umm, I like it just fine! If you are a Sesame Street watcher (I have two little ones so I am) they have similar clips for reinforcement with children with handicaps I believe the one I am referring to is the boy in the wheelchair. There are also, ones for children who are not the same as everyone else even so far as dancing. One specifies how a young boy dances and moves to his own beat. So they are coming out with different sketches that help encourage youngsters who need the encouragement. The ones that society may be overlooking or even looking down on in some way and I for one totally support them!

  27. naijamodel says:

    Gawd, people cannot win for losing!
    The video was cute, and I’m sure many kids enjoyed it. I LOVED IT. There was nothing minstrel-like about the puppet…people need to quit with the pseudo-psychology!

  28. Joanne_ says:

    I enjoy the song….I hope that little girls all over watch this video and learn to LOVE their hair because it is just as beautiful as the long tresses we see everywhere.

  29. daneez says:

    it looks synthetic. lol. Nah, cute video tho. Kudos SS.

  30. Brandi says:

    i think this video is beautiful!

  31. Jazz says:

    I love this little black girls need to see positive reinforcement like this so they will learn at an early age to embrace their natural beauty. If it starts early they won’t have problems coming to terms with embracing their hair. I wish something like this was made to show me when I was a little girl. I wish people would stop being so ready to attack things. This show is for children let them enjoy it.

  32. gin says:

    i love this! sesame street has come a loooong way. It’s crazy how many little black girls grow up thinkin they have to have long silky hair to be beautiful…. this is sooooooooo encouraging!!!

  33. Bec. says:

    Funny little anecdote, I’m white and when I was a kid, I always wanted to have an afro. I didn’t realise that the reason I didn’t have one is because of race, I just thought that cool people have afros because they look beautiful. I still think they’re absolutely gorgeous, but I think I’d probably look like I was trying too hard if I had one.

  34. rebekah says:

    I agree with Kingsmomma 100% I just don’t recall wanting to look like Barbie and have blue eyes. Of course I was frustrated with my hair at a young age and hated it at times but that was only because I was more curious then my mother could teach. No matter how many styles she put it in I always had to re-do it, play it up, and play it down. I didn’t know much about it by default so it caused a lot of frustration for me. But as far as me wanting to be something I wasn’t, never happened. If anything I wanted to be a better me my parents drilled into my sisters heads how beautiful we were. I mean a day didn’t go by without that being heard. On top of that my mother was very natural. I mean I rarely saw her with make-up and never with a perm. With T.V and my outside life (school) as a child I still did not look at white girls with envy. I do not recall. So what or who is to blame for little black girls not loving themselves and wanting to be someone they weren’t born as?

  35. Mz. Bronze says:

    Bytch. Moan. Complain. Repeat.

  36. C.B. says:

    My two year old just watched this clip and she loved it. So, lets remember who Sesame Street is for. I liked the clip and I think it was a great idea.

  37. Coley says:

    I love the song! and i def think that it is needed. to me it teaches acceptance. love you and your hair. you dont have to change it..because its great as is.. what a wonderful message to teach young children… I swear that we can find fault in anything! argh! let the children be children.. we adding issues before they even know what they are!

  38. AD says:

    I love this video. Something that my four year old neice can watch and hopefully appreciate. My beautiful little brown princess wishes her hair was long and straight, something that her soft, curly hair just can’t do. I’d love for her to see more images of other beautiful brown princesses like her loving their gorgeous kinky curls.

  39. Dee O. says:

    People love to complain too much and spend so much time reading into things incorrectly that they miss the main message. I think people like being offended because every little thing sets them off. I didn’t see a problem in this video at all, I thought people would appreciate that popular shows such as this one are trying to actually reach out to young black girls.

  40. Dig says:

    Black folk are just never satisfied. When we’re represented, we complain and when we are not depicted we complain. It is an annoying and trite topic. If someone black is light then the complexion issue comes about. Then if someone is biracial the ethnicity issue is revisited. We all look,talk,and act different, so no character is going to nail the vision of Black in a whole. Can’t we just be happy that it’s overall positive and enlightening? Eventually we will see all types of black women portrayed in the media, but we keep holding eachother back with these redundant issues that are nothing but immature arguments.Geeesh…life is not this serious it’s quite simple actually!

  41. Anastasia says:

    Debating the validity of a song about loving your hair is stupider than a song about loving your hair could ever be.

    Think how silly this would look if it were a Caucasian blonde was singing about loving her hair; people would think she was a vain, self-absorbed airhead, not spark debate about equality and race and all the rest of it.

    It’s a song. It’s about hair. Get over it. Just because X didn’t need it to feel good, doesn’t mean Y didn’t.

  42. DirtyLAWndry says:

    “The best way is for more representation and inclusion in their programing of kids with natural hair…”

    Um, they have always had diverse children (with all forms of hairstyles) and muppets on their show. This is also not the first time that a muppet on Sesame Street has sung about their hair. Clearly, Angela does not watch this show often. Both my husband and I grew up watching this show and we now have two kids under the age of 6 to justify our trips to Sesame Place. :-)

    I applaud Sesame Street for their efforts. I am also extremely impressed with the fact that they show the different cultures within the black community and not just African-Americans. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with being African-American. It’s just that not all black people are African-American and African-Americans do not even represent the largest cultural group of black people in this world. At least with Sesame Street, if they’re doing a segment on an island or some other country, they will actually use the people of that island or country to tell the kids about it, unlike tv programs and other media that think it’s acceptable to use black Americans to portray blacks from different cultures or countries or to even attempt to speak on their issues.

    So, it’s good to see the diversity. Children of both races and all cultural groups need to learn how to appreciate differences in people, whether it’s hair or not. There is nothing wrong with what the muppet sang. As a parent myself, I agree that it is up to both mothers and fathers to instill positive self image into their children and not rely on the media to do so. I don’t believe Sesame Street was trying to create controversy, but rather just sing about the love of hair.

  43. Gigi says:

    Regarding the comment about the video being comparable to a minstrel show. This is just way off base. Children respond to the very animated, sometime silly behavior in a positive way. Take a look at Elmo, Cookie Monster, The Count… They all behave just as silly and it’s great to the kids. Children especially black girls need direct reinforcement that their hair is to be loved because subliminally they are getting a whole different message. Not from TV only either. All the weave wearing, wig wearing, hair perming, ou’ing & ah’ing over mixed hair or “Indian” hair all tells young girls that their curly kinky strong & thick hair is no good. They need to be told AND shown that their God given hair is beautiful and to be loved! We ALL need to be more like that little Muppet!

  44. notbuyingit says:

    Me thinks Angela is one of those lets pretend were all color blind as a solution to racism, etc….uh, it doesn’t work…teaching children from a young age to love one self and other children being able to see that there’s nothing wrong with differences is what works…

  45. Jude says:

    My daughter said loves the video. Seasme Street always celebrates differences.

  46. bella says:

    WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHY IS IT THAT WHEN A BLACK PERSON SPEAKS HIS/HER OPINION, THEN THEY GET LABELED AS A BITCH? ITS AN OPINION. WE ARE THE ONLY RACE THAT GETS HATED ON SO MUCH, EVEN BY OUR OWN PEOPLE SO WHY CANT WE HAVE AN OPINION WITHOUT SAYING BITCH, MOAN, REPEAT? THATS SO IGNORANT!

  47. esme says:

    i agree with bella, black people should feel free to disent with a depiction they agree with and shouldn’t be forced to accept any old bullsh*t just because we are rarely represented.

    that being said, i love this and think it’s important for children of ALL ethnicities to see the beauty in black hair.

  48. jboogie says:

    Agree with AJ, Shut the eff up and get a life. Even if that character never appears again on the show it may have brightened that day of what even kinky curly head girl out there that did see it. And that is all that matters…really now.

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