A plucky little Muppet in a pretty pink dress, her brown hair a perky 'fro, is helping little girls accept themselves just the way they are by loving their hair. The nameless Sesame Street character manages to trim away generations of yearning for long, silky locks with her song, I Love My Hair and has become an Internet sensation. Now her creator wants to give her a life beyond YouTube.
"I really want to sit down with the writers and figure out what we can do with her and give her a name, and really expand her out," said Joey Mazzarino, head writer for Sesame Street, who co-wrote I Love My Hair with composer Chris Jackson.
The video is being shared on Twitter, and posted on gossip sites and blogs. It is popping up on Facebook pages and discussed in the comments section on YouTube, where the original clip gets a steady stream of views.
SEE THE VIDEOWatch the muppet sing I Love My Hair on YouTube.
The tune is breezy and bouncy, the lyrics simple and filled with pride: "Don't need a trip to the beauty shop, 'cause I love what I got on top -- it's curly and it's brown and it's right up there. You know what I love? My hair!''
With fast cuts, the Muppet changes hair styles -- braids, pouffy ponytail, curly top.
And no matter what the style, "I want to make the world aware, I love my hair," she sings with happy confidence.
"It struck a particular chord with African-American moms like me," said author Denene Millner, a columnist for parenting.com and the creator of the parenting blog MyBrownBaby.
"I think that at some point, if you have a little girl, we all deal with the day your child comes home from school and says, 'I don't want my hair to look like this; I want it to look like Annie's.' And Annie's hair is blond and long and not what she has."
Millner says she is teaching her daughters, Mari and Lila, ages 11 and 8, to "love their hair as it grows out of their head."
Millner, like many African-American women, recalls the big plastic comb, thick grease and sizzling hot comb used on her hair when she was a little girl.
"It was horrible," she said.
It was a similar discussion with his 5-year-old daughter Segi over tight, curly hair that inspired Mazzarino to craft the song and video. He and his wife, both white, adopted the little Ethiopian girl, who told them that she "wanted her hair to be long or blond like Barbie or a princess."
"I thought it was because she had two white parents that she was going through this. And I didn't know about the larger sort of issues with African-American girls until Chris Rock's movie came out," Mazzarino said, referring to Rock's 2009 documentary Good Hair - about the black hair-care industry and the history behind concepts of so-called " good hair."
The day the video was shot, Mazzarino said, everyone felt the power of the song.
"All the African-American women came down to [the set] to watch," he said. "If there's a celebrity, people will come down to watch. But really, it touched them. And I think I should have known that -- that this is something that is deeper than just your kids."