Every child in the country probably knows the classic children show, Sesame Street. Having started in 1969, the show witnessed generations of children grow and become professional.
However, it was not until last year, when the production finally decided to cast a full-time Black female puppeteer.
Megan Piphus Peace served as the first Black female who works for the famed children’s show. The 29-year-old said that she is honored to have been selected by the production.
The casting is also more meaningful for Peace, since it not only made her part of a big entertainment production, she became the first colored female to make it into the cast.
“I’m so glad I had the opportunity to be on Sesame Street and encourage other kids to dream as big as their imaginations will allow. I always dreamed of working in television, but I never imagined myself being at Sesame Street,” she said.
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It is her passion
Piphus Peace has always loved puppetry. When she was young, it was her dream to become a puppeteer and perform in front of audiences.
She recalled the time when she first discovered the art of puppeteering when she was invited for a puppetry conference by a woman in their church.
During the conference, she was awe-struck with how women used the puppets and became their voices.
When she went home, Peace immediately approached her parents and told them she wanted to pursure ventriloquism.
“I had never seen a ventriloquist before. And at the time, I didn’t realize that Shari Lewis, one of my idols … was a ventriloquist until I was much older because she was so good,” Piphus Peace said.
Peace went on to recall that she was always delighted to see Lamb Chop, a character in a program called “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along.” It was a show Peace grew up watching.
“Lamb Chop was my friend and Shari was just her friend too. I realized I found my passion in making children laugh and smile through puppetry.”
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The first Black female puppeteer in the show
“It’s a matter of representation. It’s not very often that you see women puppeteers in general and also Black women puppeteers. I can probably count on one hand the number that there are,” Peace said.
She is hopeful that with her addition in the program’s roster, more people and women of color will step into the limelight and express their talents.
After all, it was Black women who appeared on television shows who inspired her to pursue a career in the entertainment industry in the first place.
“One of the lessons that we have was on using your voice. It speaks subtly to equity. You know, we didn’t have Gabrielle go into the camera and say, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ She says that we all have a voice that matters and we can use our voice.”
“I want her confidence to just shine through the screen so that little girls and boys around the world are filled with confidence in themselves.”
Photo Credit: Zach Hyman