The poem emphasizes the individuality and significance of all people, regardless of size, appearance, race, or economic status. The scene took place on the stoop of 123 Sesame Street, involving a large group of children, who joined in on the "I am somebody" portions together. The full text was included in the book Sesame Street Unpaved.
Jackson performed the poem for audiences as early as 1963, and continued using it after forming Operation PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) in the early 1970s.
In 1991, when Dr. Seuss died, Saturday Night Live alluded to the the poem by having Jackson recite "Green Eggs and Ham" in the same oratative fashion with which he performs "I Am - Somebody."
The phrase has become so much of a calling card for Jackson that he yells it in a cameo in the movie Undercover Brother.