Kicking off with poet Amanda Gorman, new celebrity videos use a beloved Sesame Street format to support positive identity-building for children
Sesame Workshop launched the next phase of its ongoing Coming Together initiative: a “Word of the Day” video series that harnesses the power of language to nurture children’s positive and healthy senses of self. Produced in partnership with WarnerMedia Kids & Family and inspired by the iconic Sesame Street segment, the short-form series features the Sesame Street Muppets and celebrity friends learning about words like “Belonging,” “Fairness,” and “Proud.”
Starting with Amanda Gorman introducing the word “Upstander,” guests will include: Samuel L. Jackson; Gabrielle Union; Brett Goldstein; Anna Cathcart; Zazie Beetz; Ava DuVernay; and First Lady Jill Biden. The videos will roll out simultaneously on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel and across Cartoon Network and Cartoonito’s social channels.
“Sesame Street is such a beloved institution and source of joy and understanding for children; when I was little it was absolutely one of my favorite shows,” said Gorman of her visit to the esteemed children’s series. “It was the honor of a lifetime to visit Sesame Street in person!”
“It’s incredibly important that we are constantly providing the resources for our children that reinforce messages of love and unity, and now more than ever, inclusivity and resilience,” said Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Social Responsibility, WarnerMedia. “Working with these respected talent and educators that our youth audiences trust and find engaging, we couldn’t be prouder to be an ongoing partner in this wonderful collaboration with Sesame Workshop.”
Sesame Street has always been a place where everyone is welcome, long heralded for its diverse cast and inclusive storylines; in 2020, more than fifty years after Sesame Street’s groundbreaking beginnings, the nonprofit organization behind the series saw an increased need and launched an initiative to help families talk about race, ethnicity, and culture with their children. These new “Word of the Day” videos join a host of other Coming Together content that celebrates uplifting themes of racial, ethnic, and cultural identities in a developmentally appropriate way. Other videos will feature original songs, interviews, and inspiring messages for children and caregivers from the Sesame Street Muppets. Like the “Word of the Day” series, the other new videos will be available on Sesame Street’s YouTube channel and Cartoon Network and Cartoonito’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels.
“We know that children are not colorblind; they absorb messages about their own and others’ identities from a very young age, from their own lives and the world around them. To help children of all backgrounds build empathy and self-esteem, families need language to talk about race, ethnicity, and culture in an open and positive way,” said Akimi Gibson, Sesame Workshop’s Vice President & Education Publisher and one of the leaders of the Coming Together initiative. “With these new videos – and as with all of our Coming Together content – we want to support caregivers as they help their children navigate our complex world.”
In addition to short-form content, Coming Together also includes a CNN Town Hall and two full-length specials – The Power of We and See Us Coming Together – that explore themes of community, fairness, and belonging. Newly introduced Sesame Street Muppets like Tamir and Ji-Young star in the content – and join Elmo, Cookie Monster, and friends in their playful learning adventures on the flagship series, too. Supporting videos, printable activities, and articles for caregivers roll out on Sesame Street’s digital and social media channels regularly. Beyond Sesame Street itself, the principles of Coming Together are woven throughout Sesame Workshop’s other series and initiatives.