Home » Passion leads to history as first Black woman becomes puppeteer on ‘Sesame Street’

Passion leads to history as first Black woman becomes puppeteer on ‘Sesame Street’

by The Grio

Megan Piphus Peace’s love of puppets has helped her secure her position in “Sesame Street” history.

The first Black woman puppeteer on “Sesame Street” and self-taught ventriloquist watched her enthusiasm develop growing up on the adored program as well as “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along” and “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” according to CNN.

Piphus Peace voices Gabrielle, whom she describes as a “sweet 6-year-old Black girl muppet,” providing a role model for joy, curiosity and self-love to a new generation of viewers of “Sesame Street,” which has been around for more than 50 years. 

The voice actress hopes the character’s confidence, which contrasts with how timid she herself was as a child, will serve as an example for other children. Gabrielle, she noted, is all about her community and her friends.

“Gabrielle loves to sing and to dance,” Piphus Peace said, CNN reported, “and she’s had lots of experiences on ‘Sesame Street’ where she’s gotten to sing about colors, about loving her hair.”

Piphus Peace, of Cincinnati, realized when she was about 10 that puppetry could be an art form, and it has been a passion ever since. She had attended a puppetry conference organized by a woman at her church and said there was something magical about seeing the connection between a human and an inanimate object coming to life.

“Puppets allow us to enter the imagination of a child,” Piphus Peace told CNN. “You think of a child playing. Their toys can talk. Their cars can move. So you’re speaking their imaginative and creative language when you’re allowing a puppet to come to life.”

As a teenager, Piphus Peace performed all over the country. Her skills earned her the moniker “Valedictorian Ventriloquist” during her high school valedictorian speech.

She also gained notoriety as the “Vanderbilt Ventriloquist” while attending Vanderbilt…

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