Joan Cooney and Shola Lynch

Lynch with Joan Ganz Cooney, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and the cast of Season 3 (along with David Connell and Jon Stone).

Fannie-Shola-20yearslater

Fannie and Shola, 20 years later.

Shola Lynch is a filmmaker who, from the age of 2 to 6, appeared as one of the kids on Sesame Street in the early 1970s.

She is best known for a series of Muppet & Kid Moments where she featured mostly with Kermit the Frog and Ernie & Bert. She also appeared in the street scenes of episodes 0441 and 0673 with John-John, another recurring kid. She would later be reunited with Kermit in the 1989 special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting.

In 2020, Lynch recalled her time on Sesame Street in an interview for RogerEbert.com:[1]

I grew up in the 70s, so my favorite album was Free to Be You and Me, and “Sesame Street” fits into that. My street cred comes from “Sesame Street,” which is so corny to say. [laughs] It’s a world where we all get along, we do our best and we are trying to build community. I think that show is a sweet reminder of what democracy can look like, and sometimes I think we lose sight of that.

It wasn’t a documentary because there was a script for the adults, but the kids were not scripted exactly, and they would keep rolling until they got the interaction they were looking for. They would come at you with another question, or come at you with the same question in another way, and I had so much fun with Ernie and Bert.

After her brief stint as a child actor, Lynch went on to become a nationally ranked track athlete.[2] She received a liberal arts BA with honors from the University of Texas, an MA in American History from the University of California Riverside, and an MA in Journalism from Columbia University.[3]

She got her start in documentaries working with Ken Burns on Frank Lloyd Wright and Jazz for PBS, and as a researcher on other projects. In 2004, she directed her first film, Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed (which aired on the PBS series P.O.V.), a documentary covering the presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for President of the United States. She directed Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, about college professor and social activist Angela Davis, and later served as a producer for Anderson Cooper: 360. She also became the curator of the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division for the New York Public Library at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.[3]

Sketches

Picture First Appearance Description
Imlittleyourebig
Episode 0306 Big Bird tells Shola that he's been having some trouble figuring out big and little. Shola says that she's little and Big Bird is big. Big Bird says, "Oh! That must be why they call me Big Bird." Shola answers, "Yeah! You're Big Bird. I'm Shola."
Big Bird Shola sticks
Episode 0306 Big Bird and Shola demonstrate a big stick versus a little stick.
1095w
Episode 0464 Ernie, Bert and Shola add 1 to 5.
EBSholaEmotions
Episode 0469 Ernie, Bert and Shola demonstrate happy, sad, scared and mad.
SholahugsKermit
Episode 0534 Kermit, Shola and Fannie have just finished watching the previous film. Shola hugs Kermit, and he comments, "She learned a lot from the octopus ... how to squeeze!"
EBSholaNap
Episode 0537 Ernie, Bert and Shola talk about taking a nap.
0926x
Episode 0542 Ernie, Bert and Shola demonstrate between.
EBShola.balls
Episode 0544 Ernie, Bert and Shola use balls to demonstrate "big," "small," "smaller, and "smallest" with four balls.
1800-12
Episode 0549 Ernie and Bert discuss "heavy" and "light" with Shola.
EB.Shola.A
Episode 0551 Ernie, Bert, and Shola observe a letter A. Ernie calls out, "A, Bert!"
Kermit.Shola.Fannie.nextto
Episode 0553 Kermit demonstrates the concept of being next to someone, with assistance from Shola and Fannie.
ErnieSholaBertX
Episode 0560 Ernie, Bert and Shola talk about the letter X.
ErnieShola.Nickel
Episode 0565 Ernie's lost the nickel he was going to use for candy, so Shola gives him another one.
KermitSholaFranGiraffes
Episode 0570 Kermit, Shola, and Fannie discuss giraffes (leading into a film of real giraffes with music by Joe Raposo). Shola enjoys manhandling Kermit, and jerks his head up and down to demonstrate the concepts of "down and high".
0871w
Episode 0619 Kermit, Shola, and Fannie count legs and heads.

Sources

  1. RogerEbert.com "Paving the Way: Shola Lynch on Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed" by Matt Fagerholm, June 11, 2020
  2. Univ. of Texas article (archived)
  3. 3.0 3.1 nypl.org profile

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