British Composer YolanDa Brown Makes History With Sesame Street’s First Afrobeats Songs

When PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) was also known as the National Educational Television Network, Sesame Street premiered in 1969.

For many, 53 years of acting as a meaningful forum for educating children around the world through satellite television and, more recently, the internet has been a long wait before introducing African sounds to the mix.

The creators of Sesame Street claimed on their website that “all children need to feel “strong in their skin,” which can be difficult in a racist culture.”

“The aim of the song is to encourage learning about diversity and help children develop a positive sense of self,” they said.

YolanDa Brown, who has received awards as a singer and performed with The Temptations, Asa, Billy Ocean, and worked with 2Face Idibia, Kelly Jones, and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, wrote the album “Giant.”

YolanDa Brown has acted as a radio and television broadcaster, earning accolades such as the Royal Television Society Award for Best Children’s Programme for her YolanDa’s Band Jam series on CBeebies.

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“I can now tell the world!” Yolanda exclaimed as she wrote. When reporting the Sesame Street presence to her Instagram followers, she said, “A dream come true.”

Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational group, produces Sesame Street. Sesame Street shows have been broadcast in more than 150 countries.

Wes and his father Elijah – black puppets – were newly added to the world-famous television show to add diversity.

Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, and other family-friendly characters from Sesame Street have appeared extensively on items ranging from pencils and erasers to school bags.

The show has been used to teach children about a variety of topics over the years, including bigotry, mortality in the home, hunger, and, most recently, COVID-19.