'I Love My Hair' Video Inspired By Father's Love of Daughter

Sesame Street writer pens song to help black girls love their hair.

ByABC News
October 18, 2010, 1:36 PM

October 18, 2010 — -- "Sesame Street" has always been about learning. But one particular muppet is getting tremendous praise for her latest lesson; teaching young, black girls that their hair is beautiful just the way it is.

The viral video of a brown Muppet, meant to represent an African-American girl, singing, "I really, really, really love my hair" has been visited by a quarter of a million people on YouTube. The video, which has made many people smile, was inspired by one father's love for his daughter.

Joey Mazzarino, the head writer at "Sesame Street," who is also a puppeteer, adopted a little girl from Ethiopia named Segi.

"She's like my little muse," Mazzarino said.

As Mazzarino and his wife watched their daughter grow, he noticed a change when she started playing with Barbies. Segi started saying negative things about herself and her own hair.

"She was going through this phase where she really wanted like the long, blonde hair. ... She would look at Barbies and really want the hair."

Segi is not alone. ABC news talked to several young, African American girls, who told us their feelings about their hair. Eleven-year-old Monique told ABC News, "I think I want to straighten my hair because it's curly and it's puffy."

The feelings held by Monique and Mazzarino's daughter are nothing new in the black community.

Comedian Chris Rock said he was prompted to make his documentary about the $9 billion black hair business "Good Hair" when his five-year-old daughter asked him, "'Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?"

The idea of "good hair" and the feeling that one must have straight hair can be seen in vintage ads for black beauty products. The products tell young black women to straighten their hair. One product, Hair Strate perm, tells black women that the product will keep their hair so straight, they can "swim, shower, shampoo ... hair can't revert!"

The 1960s "Black is beautiful" movement brought the Afro into fashion, but it was never able to completely drown out the historical and perhaps subliminal message for young black girls that their hairdo was a don't.

Take Whoopi Goldberg for instance. Her early days of standup included her portrayal of a little black girl who wore a towel on her head.

"This is my long, luxurious blonde hair," Goldberg said.