“Sesame Street” has aired a new song, “I Love My Hair,” aimed at young black girls to teach them to value and love their natural hair. The character dances and sings in every little girl hairstyle imaginable, from a small Afro to ponytails to cornrows to twists. This is an important lesson for black girls to learn because even if they come from a household where natural hair is celebrated, like I did, they will no doubt get the “lesson” from the outside world that straight and silky is better. I remember wearing cornrows to school when I was young and my best friend would always ask me when I was getting my hair chemically straightened. My hair was long, but it was also kinky and gravity-defying, and my friend couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want long and straight hair. And I kind of did, but my mom wouldn’t let me relax it until I was 12. She didn’t want my hair to break off like most of the girls we knew, including my best friend. Looking back on all the times I had to go back to natural in order to re-grow my hair, I wish I was never allowed to chemically straighten my hair. But I think becoming comfortable with our natural hair is a growth process some black women need to go through, and sometimes that means realizing the chemicals aren’t for us.
I’m happy to see “Sesame Street” acknowledging that naturally black hair can be beautiful and taking a proactive step towards teaching black girls to love their hair from a young age.