Sesame Street Launches Series 53 Under the Direction of The Programme's First Latino Executive Producer, Salvador Perez
On 10 November 1969, PBS premiered Sesame Workshop's Sesame Street, the (now very long-standing and beloved) children’s programme with an essence, as author Malcolm Gladwell described it, "the artful blend of fluffy monsters and earnest adults."
As a child, I can recall sitting in front of the #television, watching it, avidly. Glued to not only the stories but also the characters (yes, human beings alongside the fluffy monsters, a.k.a. muppets), I was like a sponge, #learning and experiencing by way of this #innovative, #educational programme which has had, since its first year, a further whopping 52 series and is now broadcast in c. 150 countries worldwide.
From the onset, it celebrated #diversity, with its mix of Black, Hispanic and Latino and White cast ensemble. And, through the years, that was only set to continue, with #inclusion coming into the frame with characters and storylines designed to get across #DEI messaging.
This said, the beauty of the programme was that we, as children, never felt it was messaging. It was all “real.” We were not, as such, thinking about #disabilities when we watched and listened to a girl in the wheelchair or a boy with Downs Syndrome. They were a girl and a boy.
Season 53’s first episode was released just under a fortnight ago, on 3 November. This year’s series is meant to have a number of celebrity guests, who no doubt will make it into the news. However, most newsworthy of all this season is that this year the programme comes under the direction of Salvador Perez. Coming from a first-generation Mexican-American family, Perez is the show’s very first #Latino executive producer.
Like me, Perez grew up watching Sesame Street, and being hooked by it. At first blush or to someone unfamiliar with Sesame Street, it’s impossible to fathom how that is possible. Our backgrounds are entirely different, our experiences no doubt entirely different and even the #generation from which we hail entirely different!
However, that’s the beauty of Sesame Street. It makes kids and families from all walks of life “feel like they belong on Sesame Street,” as Perez so aptly puts it. Diversity, #equity and inclusion lives and breathes on Sesame Street. That is why the show has so endured, and long may that continue under Perez...and beyond!
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