It's time for a YouTube pop quiz...
Who is Antoine Dodson?
If you answered "Mr. Hide Ya Kids, Hide Ya Wife," you'd be correct.
Too easy? Let's try a more difficult one.
Who is Joey Mazzarino?
Not so sure? ...
The beautiful star of the "Sesame Street" I Love My Hair video.
Does the Sesame Street song "I Love My Hair" ring a bell? That's right... Joey Mazzarino is the man behind the Muppet—the writer of the wonderful song that hit YouTube a couple weeks ago and quickly became an overnight sensation. I was recently granted the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Mazzarino and ask him the questions that you most wanted answered. He has already given stellar interviews to NPR and the Huffington Post, but I still wanted to take the opportunity to ask the questions that may have been overlooked. So, I reached out to the talented and lovely ladies of the CurlyNikki.com community to help facilitate the interview. Hopefully, we have covered everything and more that you wanted to know.
CN: I started my blog for the same underlying reasons you wrote the song for your daughter. I'm sure you're tired of repeating it, but could you give our communities the background story?
Sure! A year ago, when my daughter was four, I started to notice that she wasn't happy with her hair. She repeatedly expressed a desire to have straight hair like her mother's. She wanted to be able to toss it, and flip it back and forth. Like most girls her age, she has a collection of Barbie dolls—a mix of African-American and white ones, and unfortunately only three of them have curly hair. It's incredibly difficult to find Barbies with curly hair! One day, while playing with one of her white dolls, she said, "I'd like to have long, blond hair like her." I thought the problem was unique to us—being two white parents raising an African-American daughter. But then when Chris Rock's movie "Good Hair" came out, I realized that it was a much larger issue. I spoke to my executive producer about it and asked her if I could write a song that touched on hair and self-esteem. We were just finishing the writing season for the year, but she gave me the go-ahead, anyway. I wrote the lyrics and we got Chris Jackson, a wonderful composer and Broadway star, to do the music. He turned it around very quickly and we were able to shoot it!
Was the song particularly difficult to write? Was it hard finding the right words?
Not at all. I would always tell my daughter, "I love your hair! It's great! It's so beautiful and curly! Plus, you can do so many great things with it!" And she would always respond, "But I want hair like yours, I want hair like Mommy's'!" So I found myself reflecting on the stuff I told her while I was writing the lyrics, and it was actually one of the easier things I've ever had to write.