When the children’s show Sesame Street is doing an episode about racial and cultural diversity, where do they turn? Queens.
Sesame Street filmed an episode that celebrates diversity, and they filmed part of it in a Fresh Meadows children’s athletic center, My Gym. But the film crew used more than just the gym’s child-friendly space; they also asked the gym’s director, Meredith Coleman, if they could film the students for their athletics and aesthetic.
“And they asked that I make sure that the kids are as diverse as possible. We’ve always been diverse. That’s part of living in Queens,” Coleman said.
The Sesame Street episode, “Proud to Be Me,” aired on Sept. 17, and the bulk of it came from filming the 60 kids from My Gym, including the “beautiful skin song” in the episode.
When the film crew first started recording the children, ages 1 through 12, on June 16, they were shy.
“They had a camera literally in their face so it was awkward at first,” Coleman said. “But soon the kids got used to it and some of them were even fighting for the camera’s attention. We try to build up the confidence of our kids and this helped perfectly, especially that it was an episode about being proud of who you are.”
Coleman believes that the nonprofit education show chose My Gym, an international franchise, because they have always been very active in the community and have performed in Hershey Park and alongside the singer Ashanti Shequoiya Douglas. In December, a group of the older children will perform at halftime for the Harlem Globe Trotters in the Barclays Center.
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