One of my favorite shows to watch with my nieces when they were little was “Gullah Gullah Island.” When I babysat them during the summer the world stopped when that show came on. We’d sing the theme song like our lives depended on it.
My youngest niece had a healthy distrust for costumed characters yet she adored Binyah Binyah, the giant pollywog. That meant this show was something special. It followed a loving family with a multi-ethnic circle of friends who enriched their lives. Everyone was kind and friendly and generous. They played and laughed and sang songs and danced together. Even when they disagreed or were in not-so-nice moods, they always worked it out. They celebrated and honored their culture, which is still threatened with extinction.
I love this show for a lot of reasons but particularly because it allowed my nieces to see that black people are not a monolithic culture devoid of distinction or nuance. It taught them that when black people say “dis” or “dat”, they are bilingual, not uneducated. It showed them that it was okay to read and explore and be adventurous and not allow others to define them or determine their worth.
So I thankfully tip my hat to “Gullah Gullah Island” for lessons well-learned.
Have any TV shows had a positive impact on you or the children in your life?