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Sesame Street introduces two black muppets


Sesame Street introduces two black muppets – Wes and his dad Elijah – to talk to children about black identity and race

  • The new characters, five-year-old Wesley Walker and his father Elijah, were revealed this week in a video with Elmo 
  • In the video, which was published on the show’s website, Elmo asks the father and son why people have different skin colors
  • The segment is part of a new series of videos called the ABCs of Racial Literacy 
  • In another video due out soon, a Hispanic muppet named Rosita will be confronted with ‘a racist incident in a grocery store’ 

Sesame Street has introduced two black muppet characters to talk to children about race. 

The new characters, five-year-old Wesley Walker and his father Elijah, were revealed this week in a video with Elmo.

In the video, which was published on the show’s website, Elmo asks the father and son why people have different skin colors.

The topic is raised after Elmo points out a leaf that has fallen from a tree is the same shade as his fur and that other leaves are brown like Wesley and Elijah’s skin. 

Elijah explains that it is down to melanin. 

Sesame Street has introduced two black muppet characters, five-year-old Wesley Walker and his father Elijah, to talk to children about race

‘Melanin is something that we each have inside our bodies that make the outside of our bodies the skin color that it is. It also gives us our eye and hair color,’ Elijah said. 

‘The color of our skin is important to who we are, but we should all know that it’s okay that we all look different in so many ways. 

‘Things on the outside, like our skin color, our hair texture, our noses, our mouths and eyes, make us who we are. Many people call this race. But, even though we look different, we’re all part of the human race.’  

In another video due out soon, a Hispanic muppet named Rosita will be confronted with ‘a racist incident in a grocery store’. 

The segments are part of a new series of videos called the ABCs of Racial Literacy. 

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit behind the popular children’s program, said the videos aim to ‘provide families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children’.

‘The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people,’ said Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop’s executive vice president of creation and production. 

In the video, which was published on the show's website, Elmo asks the father and son why people have different skin colors

In the video, which was published on the show’s website, Elmo asks the father and son why people have different skin colors

The segment is part of a new series of videos called the ABCs of Racial Literacy

The segment is part of a new series of videos called the ABCs of Racial Literacy

In June last year, Sesame Street partnered with CNN to hold a town hall on racism following George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis. 

Sesame Workshop also aired an anti-racist special ‘The Power of We’ late year in which children are encourage to stand up against racism. 

Sesame Street has a history of explaining the world to children, tackling everything from foster care to substance abuse.

The show has introduced a range of new and diverse muppets over the years, including Julia, who has autism, and Lily, who has experienced homelessness. 

There’s also a six-year-old female character named Zari from Afghanistan and Karli who lives in foster care because her mother is battling an opioid addiction. 

Back in 2002, Sesame Street introduced Kami, a five-year-old yellow Muppet with HIV. 

The show has introduced a range of new and diverse muppets over the years, including Zari from Afghanistan

Karli lives in foster care because her mother is battling an opioid addiction

The show has introduced a range of new and diverse muppets over the years, including Zari from Afghanistan (left) and Karli who lives in foster care because her mother is battling an opioid addiction (right)

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