Lupita Nyong’o use to have insecurities about her dark complexion. But People’s “Most Beautiful Person” of 2014 has learned to love her skin and she appeared on Sesame Street to help kids struggling with the same feelings. With American mass media still obsessed with light skin, the 12 Years a Slave and future Star Wars: Episode 7 star serves as a much needed role model to teach children that black is beautiful.
It turns out that even Elmo is covered in skin, although he didn’t know it before Nyong’o came to Sesame Street. Lupita and Elmo had many things to say about the virtues and uses of skin, but what Lupita loves most is that skin can come in many shades and varieties.
That wasn’t always the case.
In a speech given to the Essence’s 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, Nyong’o talked about the struggles she faced accepting her own skin, saying when she was younger,
“I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned.”
Since then, not only has she learned that black is beautiful, she serves as living proof. In part of her speech, Lupita read part of a letter from another young girl suffering from low-esteem from her appearance, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”
Lupita Nyong’o said the letter made her heart bleed a little.
She letter showed the value of Lupita Nyong’o as a role model for young dark skinned girls around the world. If Nyong’o is going to spread her message, reaching a young audience is essential. And what’s better than Sesame Street.
Sesame Street has been on the air on PBS for 45 years, yet still remains popular. The series still has much of the same non-human cast that has made it so popular. Favorites like Big Bird and Elmo still teach today’s youth valuable lessons about the world.
A message that can potentially raise the self-esteem of millions of young dark skinned children seems perfectly suited to Sesame Street.
In the short sketch, Sesame Street‘s Elmo is taught that even he is covered in skin, which might be a surprise both for Elmo and the audience. The two then go on to teach children that skin protects the body, yet allows us to feel things like Elmo’s fur. The most important thing is that skin comes in all shades, even red, and is beautiful nonetheless.
[Image Credit: Sesame Street/Youtube.com]