The Sesame Place theme park, just outside of Philadelphia, is getting some serious heat after a Black mother shared a video of her daughters’ rejection by a park employee dressed as Rosita, a character from the long-running kids’ show, Sesame Street. The girls’ mother posted the shade on her Instagram account on July 17. In the now-viral video, you can see Rosita high-fiving a white person just before shaking her head “no” to the young black girls standing directly in front of her. The whole situation left the young girls justifiably confused and disappointed.
In the caption, the mom writes, in part:
“I’m going to keep posting this, because this had me hot. We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!”
When she tried to take her concerns about the situation to a manager, the mother was told they couldn’t identify the person inside the costume. But outraged parents across social media were ready to call BS. R&B star Kelly Rowland even posted her own video response on Instagram, saying, “Had that been me, that whole parade would have been in flames.”
Sesame Place responded to the July 17 incident, releasing a formal statement on Instagram in which they claim the performer’s “no” gesture was not intended to ignore the girls but instead a response to someone in the crowd asking to hold their child for a picture, something that is prohibited. But if you watch the video, as I did several times, it’s hard to buy that explanation.
Sesame Place goes on to say that they apologized to the family and invited them back for a special meet and greet with the characters. But folks have been flooding the comments to let the Philadelphia theme park know they are having none of their apology. Activist Tamika Mallory wrote, “This response is unreal. You all need to regroup and try again. We will not accept this.”
It’s ironic that someone dressed as Sesame Street’s first bilingual Muppet would go out of their way to ignore Black girls who were clearly fans. But as another Instagram post revealed, this was not Rosita’s first time snubbing a Black child. Maybe someone needs to remind this performer that Sesame Street is supposed to be a place where everyone feels welcome and included.