It may be the start of cold, dark January, but Sesame Street – as any true fan knows – is always thinking about those sunny days. And in a new episode, the show is tackling the need for sunscreen for all skin types with the help of tennis pro Naomi Osaka.
The four-time Grand Slam singles champion visited Sesame Street to give the muppets a tennis lesson, but she first explained that they needed to put on their visors and apply sunscreen – yes, even those with brown or Black skin.
"See, everybody's skin has something called melanin in it," the Japanese athlete said before addressing Segi, a Black muppet. "People with dark skin like you and me have lots of it . . . We all have different amounts of melanin in our skin. That's why our skin comes with so many different colors."
The TV appearance was just one way the tennis megastar is getting the word out about the importance of sunblock for people of color. She also cofounded the skincare line Kinlò, which is specifically formulated for melanated skin types, and which makes public education about skin protection in the Black community a key focus.
Naomi isn't the only Asian celebrity guest to appear on the series lately. After introducing Ji-Young, the show's first Asian American muppet, in November, other visitors – including Simu Liu and Padma Lakshmi – are stopping by to help spread awareness of anti-Asian racism.
"I have worked with many talented people in my career but sharing the stage with Elmo and his friends on Sesame Street was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me," she told POPSUGAR about the experience. "I had a blast on set, made some new friends, and was able to talk about two things I am passionate about . . . tennis and education when it comes to sun protection. It was an honor and I am so excited for the episode to air."
See an exclusive clip featuring Naomi above, and be sure to watch the new episode on HBO Max when it hits the streaming service on Jan. 6.