SESAME STREET Introduces Two Black Muppets for Series on Race

Sesame Street has been educating and entertaining generations of kids. The show has always been ahead of the curve in terms of introducing characters that represent a wide variety of people and social issues. This trend continues with its latest segment “Explaining Race,” which introduces two new Black Muppets to talk about racial identity.

As reported by HuffPost, the three-minute segment shows Wes, a kindergarten-aged kid, walking with his dad, Elijah. They are taking an afternoon stroll on a lovely fall day when Elmo comes along to ask an innocent question. He wants to know why Wes and Elijah are brown and why they are two different shades of brown.

Elijah explains that they are brown because of melanin; he says that he has more melanin so he is a darker brown. He tells Elmo that skin color and hair texture are important. They begin to think about their hair and eyes and acknowledge that those things form our race. But, Elijah also says that even though they all look different, everyone is still human.

Elijah uses the leaves on the ground as a beautiful metaphor; he tells the children that “When people of all colors come together, we stand strong, like this tree.”

“Explaining Race,” which debuted on March 23, is a part of Sesame Street’s larger “The ABCs of Racial Literacy,” a digital content series to highlight and address racial injustice.

There’s a lot to love in “Explaining Race,” from seeing our beloved friend Elmo to Wes and Elijah’s haircuts and hoodies. It’s also important to note how Elijah doesn’t brush off their differences; instead, he confirms that they play a big role in how the world sees us. As always, Sesame Street breaks things down in a way that kids can understand and appreciate.

a photo of an adult Black Sesame Street muppet and a boy Black muppet sit on a green park bench with green grass and leaves with yellow, orange, and brown falling from several trees

Sesame Street in Communities/ YouTube

And, this will not be the only time we will see Wes and Elijah. The series will continue to follow them as Wes learns more about the world, including things that may make him angry or sad. It will be a journey to follow because Black kids are often hit with negative social messages and bias early on. No matter what, Wes will have his dad Elijah, friend Elmo, and perhaps some others to help him understand life.

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