'I Love My Hair': A Father's Tribute To His Daughter A little Muppet girl has started a sensation. The brown doll with a beautifully kinky mop of hair sings "I Love My Hair." The song was written by Joey Mazzarino, Sesame Street's head writer. He wrote the song to help his adopted daughter celebrate herself and, of course, her hair.

'I Love My Hair': A Father's Tribute To His Daughter

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A little Muppet girl has started a sensation. The unnamed puppet with an afro sings a love song to her hair.

(Soundbite of song, "I Love My Hair")

Unidentified Child: (Singing) It's curly and it's brown and it's right up there. You know what I love, that's right, my hair. I really love my hair.

BLOCK: That song, "I Love My Hair" debuted on the October 4th episode of "Sesame Street." The song was posted on the show's YouTube page, and then women began posting the video on their Facebook pages. African-American bloggers wrote that it brought them to tears because of the message that it sends to young black girls.

Well, we're joined now by the man behind the Muppet, Joey Mazzarino is the head writer of "Sesame Street," and a Muppeteer. He's in our studios in New York. Welcome, Joey.

Mr. JOEY MAZZARINO (Head Writer, "Sesame Street"): Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: And how did this song come about?

Mr. MAZZARINO: This song came about because I have a daughter who's African-American. And my wife and I are both white parents. And about a year ago, my daughter was going through a lot of stuff with her hair. And she wanted to have long blond hair and straight hair, and she wanted to be able to bounce it around. And I started to get worried. But I thought it was problem that was sort of unique to us being white parents of an African-American child. And then Chris Rock's movie came out, "Good Hair." And I realized, oh wait, this is a bigger issue.

BLOCK: So, you wrote the song and tell me about writing the song itself.

Mr. MAZZARINO: The lyrics, I just kind of wanted to say what I want to say to my daughter, and what I do say to my daughter. It's, like, your hair is great. You can put it up, you know, you can put it in ponytails. You can put them in braids. You can do cornrows. You can do so many great things. I wish I had hair like you.

(Soundbite of song, "I Love My Hair")

Unidentified Child: (Singing) My hair looks good in a cornrow. It does so many things. You know that's why I let it grow. I love my hair. I love my hair.

BLOCK: Where do you think your daughter at age five was getting this notion that she needed sort of long blond hair?

Mr. MAZZARINO: She was actually younger than that. It's all around her. And, I mean, she's huge into princesses. And thank goodness there's Tiana now, to give her a positive African-American princess image.

BLOCK: You're talking about the Disney princess?

Mr. MAZZARINO: Oh, the Disney. I mean, she loves that princess now and I'm really grateful for that princess. And, you know, even I think dolls and stuff they can do better on all their product. They might have brown skin, but they don't have curly hair. Everything's straight hair and it's not helpful.

BLOCK: Well, tell me about the response that you've been paying attention to. Have people written to you directly?

Mr. MAZZARINO: You know, I got a call from a state senator's office the other day and it was wonderful. It was somebody who was some deputy that worked for him. And she was an African-American woman and she said, I'm an older woman and this song, I saw it, and I started to cry. I was amazed. I sort of wrote this little thing for my daughter and here this adult woman who - it really touched her.

And she - and then I started reading the comments on the YouTube channel and it's been amazing. It's been - I start to well up when I read them, because it's people saying I wish I had this when I was - 30 years ago. I'm going to share this with my niece. I'm going to share this with my daughter. So I'm just happy that this is getting out there.

BLOCK: Hey, Joey?


BLOCK: Do you love your hair?

Mr. MAZZARINO: What's left of it, I do. But I wake up every morning, I look at the pillow, I say, oh, I used to love you, why did you leave me?

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: Well, Joey Mazzarino, great to talk to you. Thanks very much.

Mr. MAZZARINO: Thank you, Melissa.

BLOCK: Joey Mazzarino is head writer of "Sesame Street." He's also a Muppeteer. And before he left us, he gave us a bit of advice on the news in the voice of the Muppet Murray.

Mr. MAZZARINO: (As Murray) Now, I was following everything about the miners in Chile and I was happy they were out of there.

BLOCK: Yeah, that's a good news story.

Mr. MAZZARINO: (As Murray) That was a good news. I like good news, Melissa, don't give me any of that bad news. I only want good news, please.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: Okay. I'll talk to my bosses about that.

Mr. MAZZARINO: (As Murray) Thank you, yeah, just say, no more bad news on the show.

BLOCK: Got it.

(Soundbite of song, "I Love My Hair)

Unidentified Child: (Singing) In barrettes or flying free, ever perfect tresses you see. My hair is part of me. An awesome part of me. I really love my hair.

(Soundbite of laughter)



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