Many are outraged after numerous viral videos revealed a pattern of Black children being mistreated or ignored by Sesame Street character performer during a parade at Philadelphia’s Sesame Place theme park last weekend. Singer Kelly Rowland was among the first celebrities to speak up in defense of a Philadelphia mom who watched her two daughters be ignored by the Rosita mascot.
Now rapper T.I. is calling for the culture to cancel the theme park. On Instagram on Wednesday, July 20, he shared a fan-made compilation video featuring more instances of the Rosita performer ignoring Black children at the same Sesame Place parade.
“Time to activate the culture. Shut this Muuuu*£ucka Down‼️ Our Children are watching & They can see,” the Atlanta native captioned on Instagram. “So What we doing? #USorElse.”
In another post, T.I. shared the flyer for the Sesame Place Discrimination Conference taking place today in front of the Sesame Workshop in New York. A line at the bottom of the flyer states, “We will not accept racism.”
Many in the comments agreed with and applauded T.I.’s post and response, adding that the mistreatment of Black children taints Sesame Street’s reputation and legacy.
“Thank you TIP for never stopping the whistleblowing!”
“My my my… What a way to ruin Sesame Streets Legacy by Allowing Racism to pour thru the characters.”
“Protect the kids by any means.”
“Sad af, this makes me mad for the babies. but side note this cover fye tho lol.”
“Good! They were wrong! You gotta be a f—-d up person to treat innocent kids wrong.”
After other viral videos with Sesame Street character Rosita circulated online, fans began sharing videos of other show characters who mirrored the same behavior toward Black children. In one clip, a Black mom held her toddler who waved repeatedly to get the attention of “Telly Monster,” who walked right past her.
“So what is going on at sesame place?? Even the parents noticed what was happening. Racism all up in that place,” tweeted one person.
Oscar-winning director and author Matthew A. Cherry also chimed in to express his disapproval how the two Black girls in the original video were ignored. Like many others, he found that Rosita gave high-fives to everyone that passed by, including two white children, and looked down at the two girls and shook her finger to say “no.” Cherry claims Jim Henson, who created the Muppets characters, would be “mortified” if he saw the video.
“These beautiful young Black girls better be able to give the real Rosita a high-five on the real @sesamestreet set in an actual episode by the time this is all said and done. Jim Henson would be beyond mortified by this.”
“They need to explain this. Now, why would they slap that little girl,” said another fan, who shared a video of Bert giving children a high-five while walking by. When Bert reached a young Black girl, he lightly slapped the bottom of her chin.
After the first viral incident, Sesame Street issued a statement alleging, “The Rosita performer did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.”
Jodi Brown, whom we now know as the mother and aunt of the two girls, has now sought an attorney in concern about how the children will be impacted by the incident. In an interview with TMZ, lawyer B’Ivory LaMarr says they are considering a lawsuit, alleging the videos revealed a pattern of discrimination.
“While we hate to rush to judgment to consider ‘race’ as the motivating factor to explain the performer’s actions, such actions both before and after the young girl’s request only lead to one conclusion,” he told the outlet.