Fans and parents are outraged after a viral video of two Black girls at a Sesame Street theme park began trending online. In the short clip, the girls walked up to the show’s muppet character, Rosita, during the Sesame Street parade at Sesame Place theme park in Philadelphia. Singer and actress Kelly Rowland and thousands more noticed Rosita gave high-fives to everyone that passed by, including two white individuals, and looked down at the two girls and shook her finger to say “no.”
“Oh hell nawwww!,” Rowland wrote in her Instagram story attached with a video captured by The Shade Room. As a mother with two sons, she empathized with the girl’s mother, who goes by @__jodiii__, and originally shared the video on her account on Sunday, July 17. Both noticed the disappointment on one of the girl’s faces after they were ignored by Rosita.
“Ok, so had that been me, that whole parade would have been in flames,” said the former Destiny’s Child singer in a rant on her story. “Like are you serious? You not gon’ speak to my child?”
She continued, “And did you see that baby’s face at the end…the little one with the pink on. She deserves an explanation. Hello?!?,” She wrote, “TF This just made me so mad!!” over the video.
The girl’s mother continued expressing her frustrations on social media, which prompted Sesame Place Philadelphia to respond in a statement on Instagram.
“Our brand, our park, and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms. That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behavior in our parks that are contrary to that commitment,” the company stated before directly addressing what took place.
“Regarding the incident yesterday, the costumer our performers wear sometimes makes it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests,” the statement continued. “The performer portraying the Rosita character has confirmed that the ‘no’ hand gesture seen several times in the video that was not directed to any specific person, rather it was a response to multiple requests from someone in the crowd who asked Rosita to hold their child for a photo which is not permitted.”
According to Sesame Place, “The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.” The brand also admitted to apologizing to the girls’ family and extended “a special meet-and-greet” with their characters.
After reviewing the statement, the girls’ mother called out Sesame Place again for attempting to “save face” instead of issuing a public apology.
“I never asked for that character to take a picture and as I am watching my video I don’t believe that family asked either,” the mom wrote on her Instagram story. “I whole heartedly feel as though that statement was released to save face. Also a manger reached out to me earlier via phone convo. I responded via dm to confirm. She added, “Since the post went viral, no communication was had since then!”
She called the statement “disrespectful and distasteful” and accused the character Rosita of “blatantly” looking at her kids and saying “no.”
The note continued, “Don’t try to tell me he can’t see lower levels. He looked at them and said no!! … I will repost the video every day until the situation is handled. Signed: A hurt mom.”