Entertainment

PBS Is Making a New Show Called ‘Alma’s Way’ Centering Around a Puerto Rican Girl and Her Family

Courtesy Fred Rogers Productions

Move over, Dora the Explorer! There’s a new Latina in town with her very own TV show and he name is Alma.

The new kids show is called “Alma’s Way” and it will be premiering on PBS Kids in the Fall of 2021.

Per PBS, “Alma’s Way” will center around “a proud, confident Puerto Rican girl, who lives in the Bronx with her parents and younger brother, Junior, as well as a diverse group of close-knit and loving friends, family, and community members.”

The show was created by the Emmy-winning actress Sonia Manzano, who you probably know as “Maria” from “Sesame Street”. According to Manzano, “Alma’s Way” is based on her childhood upbringing in the South Bronx.

“Alma’s way is to think things through, and I hope by animating the thought process, kids will be inspired and excited about what goes on in their own minds,” Manzano said in a statement. “I want them to know we all have the power to think regardless of who we are.”

Manzano has previously opened up about how her role on “Sesame Street” paved the way for Latinx representation onscreen. “I’m Puerto Rican, born in New York, watched a lot of television in 50s, never saw anybody who looked like me on television, and thereby began to feel invisible … and I wondered, how was I going to contribute to a society that didn’t see me?” she said in an interview with CBS. “Now, my position here on Sesame Street is so that other Hispanic children can watch me and say ‘Oh look, I exist in the world.'”

The show also plans to “showcase the diversity of New York City” and “authentically reflect the cultures of all the characters.”

This news is significant because there aren’t many children’s shows with Latino protagonists (even though Latinos are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S.) Other than “Dora the Explorer” and “Elena of Avalor” (which takes place in an alternate magical reality), kids shows with a Latino as the main character are few and far between.

According to research conducted at the Center for Scholars & Storytellers at UCLA, 65% of the human characters on American kids shows are white. To make things more problematic, only 38% of the main characters in U.S. children’s programming are female. So, “Alma’s Way” is doing double duty by making its main character both female and a person of color.

Let’s hope “Alma’s Way” is one of the many steps that Hollywood is taking to create more representation for Latinos in the media.

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Sesame Street’s Special On Antiracism Is A Reminder Of All The Times They’ve Tackled Difficult Topics Head-On

Entertainment

Sesame Street’s Special On Antiracism Is A Reminder Of All The Times They’ve Tackled Difficult Topics Head-On

Photo: via Getty Images

“Sesame Street” continues to put in the work and have difficult conversations publicly, and in ways that children can understand.

The legendary kids’ show recently announced that they will be airing an antiracism special starting on October 15th called “The Power of We.” The special will aim to teach families how to “become upstanders against racism”.

“Children look to their families with love and trust to guide their understanding about their place in this great big world,” read a statement on The Sesame Street Workshop’s website. “This Sesame Street special is an uplifting and joyful celebration of how each of us is unique and how we can work together to help make this world a better place for ourselves, our friends, and for everyone!”

The special plans to explore topics of everyone having different skin colors and identities, and what it means to be “color proud”—having pride in your own culture and race.

According to Sesame Street Workshop, the special will center around Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Gabrielle, and Gabrielle’s cousin Tamir. It will also include appearances from celebrity guests like Yara Shahidi, Christopher Jackson, and Andra Day.

As long-time fans of “Sesame Street” know, this is not the first time the iconic show has tackled difficult topics in a kid-friendly manner. The show has long prided itself on teaching children about life’s difficulties from an early age. The program has been groundbreaking in its treatment of taboo topics.

For example, in 2018 the program addressed the topic of homelessness in a segment called “A Rainbow Kind of Day”.

In the segment, a muppet name Lilly decides she doesn’t want to paint anymore. After being encouraged to talk about her feelings by Elmo and Sophia, she explains that she is sad because the color purple reminds her of her old room in a home she doesn’t have anymore. Sophia teaches her that “home is where ever the love lives, and you can take that love and hope with you wherever you go.”

Or in 2012 when the show featured a character whose parents were divorced–a familial situation that is surprisingly still underrepresented on kids’ TV shows.

In this episode, Abby Cadabby makes drawings of her two homes. A confused Elmo gets a lesson from Gordon on what divorce is. Gordon’s matter-of-fact explanation takes away any shame or stigma that children of divorce might be feeling because their families are a little bit different than others’.

And of course, the legendary episode from 1982 in which Big Bird learns about death and grief.

To this day, critics call this episode “revolutionary” for the way it avoided pandering or condescending to children. It was in this episode that “Sesame Street” showed the confidence that it has in its audience. The creatives behind the show obviously recognize that children (just like adults) are hyper-aware of everything going on around them.

“Sesame Street has always been real-world,” Sherrie Westin, Sesame Workshop’s EVP of global impact and philanthropy, told Fast Company in 2017. “It’s not a fantasy, it’s not a fairy tale. One of the things that sets us apart is respecting children and dealing with real-world issues from a child’s perspective.”

You can watch Sesame Street’s “The Power of We” streaming on HBO Max starting on Thursday, October 15th. It will also air on PBS stations that same day. You can download the special’s companion guide here.

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All This Time Sesame Street’s Big Bird And Plaza Sésamo’s Abelardo Were Primos, How Did I Not Know This?

Entertainment

All This Time Sesame Street’s Big Bird And Plaza Sésamo’s Abelardo Were Primos, How Did I Not Know This?

@bigbird / Twitter

Everybody’s favorite big birds, Big Bird and Abelardo, came together in a really sweet way this past weekend, melting the hearts of fans on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Abelardo, the beloved giant parrot from Plaza Sésamo, visited his primo BIg Bird in Los Angeles and the two shared their time together all over social media and people, present company included, are freaking out. Seriously, it was so cute and we are so happy they got to spend time together. Family is everything.

I mean it all makes sense now. Looking back I don’t know how I didn’t connect the dots…

This cuteness overload all started when Abelardo announced that he’d be traveling to LA to visit his cousin Big Bird.

Abelardo took to his new Twitter account to announce his trip and seek some advice on what he should bring his cousin back in LA. Too freakin cute!

Albergado documented his trip as part of a publicity campaign in partnership with Mexican airline Aeromexico.

The cuteness factor leveled up times 10 once the primos were reunited in LA.

For real though. These cousins know how to have a good time together and we’re so happy for them. Once Abelardo and Big Bird hit the road, the real fun began.

Big Bird showed Abelardo all the top LA spots: they took photos in front of the Hollywood Sign, visited Big Bird’s star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, went on a search for the best birdseed milkshakes in all of LA, and even braved traffic to hit the beach.

Like it literally started with a happy dance!

I mean who knows how long it had been since the primos were together so we can totally understand just how happy the two must of been to see each other.

It was beautiful to see this positive message about family and unity in the times we’re living in.

These primos were full of excitement and love for another and we can’t think of a better message to share with kids, especially Latino ones, at a time when hatred towards Latinos is a threat to our lives.

Sure they’re just fictional characters but don’t underestimate the power of representation on TV. I mean just remember back to when you watched these programs as a kid and try and tell me they didn’t have an impact on you.

For many of us who grew up watching both Sesame Street and Plaza Sésamo, it was awesome to see the two come together.

Sesame Street aired on PBS while Univision was home to Plaza Sésamo in the US – which means many of us grew up watching both versions of the show. That, for many, made this reunion so much more special.

Though it turns out that this family road trip wasn’t the first time the two had met.

Back in 1997, Abelardo traveled from Mexico City to visit Big Bird for Cinco de Mayo. The two have to find each other after Oscar the Grouch, of course, picks Abelardo up from the airport without telling anyone. OMG…drama.

For many fans of the shows, the realization that the two were cousins made all the sense in the world.

And also…when can I go on an amazing trip like this with my primos?!

And for Abelardo, it was the best viaje of his life!

Big Bird shared a tender message: “See who came to visit me, my cousin Abelardo! We are going to look for milkshakes with birdseed milk”, “We live in different places, but families will always be together in our hearts, I had a lot of fun this weekend with my cousin. “

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