“I had no idea it would resonate the way it did”

October 21, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Posted in Abs Fab | 13 Comments

“I love YOUR hair!” Joe Mazzarino exclaimed when he saw me. I laughed and said “Well I love my hair even more because of you.” He pulled out a picture of his 5-year-old daughter who inspired his Sesame Street “I Love my Hair” song. I gasped “this looks like one of the pictures that come in the frames when you buy them!” Segi’s absolutely gorgeous. Upon meeting their then, 13-month-old Ethiopian daughter, the Mazzarinos wanted to change her name to Sarafina or something close to Segi, but went with her original name. “She was Segi so we kept it.” Mazzarino made the song for his Segi but never fathomed the impact it would have, especially among adult Black women.  “How did you find out about it?” he asked me. I told him @Teofillonya sent it to me then my other girlfriends sent it to me, then my co-worker sent the ‘Whip my Hair’ mash-up and everybody was just sending it to everybody. We both laughed.

Sesame Street producers were instantly receptive to Mazzarino’s song pitch, however it was at the end of the Sesame Street season, so the song had to wait until this season to air. Segi loves the song and bops around to it admittedly, to watch her curls bounce up and down.

The Mazzarinos didn’t try to have kids, they wanted a child who needed a home. Foster parenthood wasn’t a consideration because it was short term and they “didn’t want to be heartbroken.” Initially, Mazzarino and his wife was in the process of adopting from China, but when adoption opened up in Ethiopia for six million orphans, Joe said “let’s do it.” At first, they were told no but then they were told it was a simple change in some paperwork. They had to wait until after the rainy season in Ethiopia and tragically a lot of the orphans died in Segi’s orphanage because of infection during that time. He said they were very lucky Segi survived.

Mazzarino’s and his wife did a lot of research on racial issues that may come up before adopting Segi, they read books and he cited “I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla,” as one resource but it didn’t come to mind to do any research on hair. Mazzarino had no inkling on the issues surrounding the hair topic until his daughter expressed in interest an long flowing hair, when playing with dolls and “because my wife has long hair”. The issue became clear once he saw Chris Rock’s “Good Hair.” Mazzarino jokes “I can’t even do my own hair” so he wasn’t prepared, but he tries his best when he is left to do Segi’s hair, “you know I try to put it in two little puffs on each side.” I assured him my father was ill-equipped at doing my hair growing up so not to fret.

Mazzarino uses Carol’s Daughter products on Segi’s hair and I said that’s a great line to use and added I use it myself. He asked which products I used and I highly recommended the tui oil and also co-washing. He was very interested in learning more about co-washing. I said a rule of thumb is to remember curly hair needs moisture and to always condition and never use products with alcohol. I shared a story my good friend, @ChewChronicles told me the other day about a young Dominican girl in a beauty shop. She had straight hair and was getting her done and said to the hair-dresser “I wish I had bad hair like you, so it could be curly.” Mazzarino raised his eyebrows, “Bad hair? She actually said ‘bad hair?'” I nodded, noting the good hair vs. bad hair issue transcends America and even ethnic lines, and is perpetuated among the Latino community. He was surprised. I said yes, this conversation is a global one. Most importantly, the bigger message is a human one. Learning to love your hair and yourself. Learning to love “what you got on top” and all the way to the bottom.

Related: I’m not African-American, I’m Black
Related: Dude, the whole concept of “race” is made-up :rolls eyes and walks away:
Related: My girl crush



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  1. Great interview Dashy.

  2. Love it Dash!!!!!

  3. love it…nice

  4. Great interview! If you don’t mind, I’m sure there’s plenty of natural hair blogs that would love to post this interview on their site!

    • Of course I don’t mind! Share and spread! lol Thanks for the support loverlies!

  5. This is a great post. The issues with hair growing up are prevalent with men of color growing up as well…

  6. Great Dash real good interview. How’d you meet him?

  7. ::BBM dancing face:::
    ::bbm hugs::
    amazing job!

  8. Absolutely loved this! When I first saw the video it immediately warmed my heart. Kudos to Sesame Street and Mr.Mazzarino for spreading the message of self-love to young black girls. Heck,this video will resonate with grown women as well. Thank you Sesame Street, Mr. Mazzarino and Dash for this great interview!

  9. Ok this was DOPE!!! Of curse I loved the Sesame Street video. So glad Jim made it. And yeah your hair’s pretty damb awesome. All big and fluffy. WORK!!!

  10. As always, you’re phemomenal. And that video, I’ve sent to my little sister.

  11. […] Related: “I had no idea it would resonate the way it did.” […]

  12. Hey soul Sister, great piece… was doing a study on this type of issue, i.e many white people adopting Ethiopian babies. Joey Mazzarino has a great heart i assume, for actually trying to make the girl comfortable in her own skin. I just wanted to point out that Ethiopian women have no issues when it comes to hair. Most have really beautiful hair texture and length. Mr Mazzarino might want to show her that some of the most beautiful Black Supermodels are Ethiopian and 100% African.

    Salalm Alaikum

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