Much like most people who saw the video of Sesame Street character Rosita dismissing two little Black girls at Sesame Place Philadelphia, Kelly Rowland is big mad—and rightfully so.
Rowland, a mom to two young boys, shared the video on her Instagram Stories on Sunday (July 17) with overlay text that read, “OH HELL NAWWW!!” She later shared a video response in her following Stories, captioned, “TF! This just made me so mad!”
The “Like This” artist stated, “Okay, so had that been me, that whole parade would’ve been in flames. Are you serious?! You’re not going to speak to my child? And did you see that baby’s face at the end? The little one with the pink on? She deserves an explanation!”
The video was first shared by a woman who seems to be a mother to one of the girls on Saturday (July 16). As seen below, two little Black girls reached out to Rosita in excitement, but the character high-fived a white attendee and gestured “no” while ignoring the children before walking away.
“This had me hot. We were on our way out of sesame place and the kids wanted to stop to see the characters. THIS DISGUSTING person blatantly told our kids NO then proceeded to hug the little white girl next to us!,” she wrote in the video’s caption.
“Then when I went to complain about it, they looking at me like I’m crazy. I asked the lady who the character was and I wanted to see a supervisor and she told me SHE DIDNT KNOW !! I will never step foot in @sesameplace ever again ! And please feel free to repost this. Actually run me my money back.”
As the video began to make its rounds on Twitter, Hair Love director Matthew Cherry noticed that there were other videos of the same character blatantly ignoring other Black children while embracing white ones.
On Sunday (July 17), Sesame Place issued a statement that reads: “Our brand, our park and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms. That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment. Regarding the incident yesterday, the costumes our performers wear sometimes make it difficult to see at lower levels and sometimes our performers miss hug requests from guests.”
The statement claimed the gestures from the person in the Rosita weren’t aimed at “any specific person.” Sesame Place also said in its statement that the employee in the costume “did not intentionally ignore the girls and is devastated about the misunderstanding.” They also invited the family back for a “special meet-and-greet opportunity.” The family has not revealed whether or not they will pursue legal action or take Sesame Place up on their offer.
Today, the Sesame Workshop issued an additional statement to address the viral incident.
“Sesame Workshop is aware of the recent incident at Sesame Place Philadelphia, which we take very seriously. What these children experienced is unacceptable,” the statement begins. “We have been in contact with Sesame Place, our licensed park partner, and they have assured us that they will conduct bias training and a thorough review of the ways in which they engage with families and guests.
“As a global nonprofit educational organization with a mission to help children grow smarter, stronger and kinder, Sesame Workshop has always stood for respect, inclusion and belonging and is committed to providing the highest quality engaging experiences for all children and families. We hold our partners to the same high standards. We will continue working with our long-term partner Sesame Place to ensure that appropriate actions are taken and that incidents like this do not happen in the future.”