Sesame Street, the longest running children series, added its first full-time Black female puppeteer to the cast – Megan Piphus Peace.
Megan Piphus Peace landed the role of Gabrielle, a 6-year-old Black puppet, who made her TV debut in September 2021. In an interview with her alma mater, Vanderbilt, Megan shared ‘The sets of Sesame Street are like walking into a fantasy. To be there is really something.’
Megan’s interest in puppetry and ventriloquism began at the age of ten years old. She was a self taught ventriloquist who studied by watching VHS tapes.
Megan spent her teenage years traveling the nation singing and performing ventriloquism at schools and churches. In 2010, she graduated valedictorian of her class at Princeton High School and became known as the “Valedictorian Ventriloquist.”
While in college, she made her TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as a ventriloquist. She auditioned for America’s Got Talent and received four yes’s from the judges.
After graduate school Megan started a thriving career in commercial real estate. Even as she was closing on property, she would make time to audition and perform at shows such as Showtime at the Apollo with Steve Harvey.
In 2019, she performed and wrote songs for a TV musical series teaching young children basic financial literacy. By 2020, she was training for a year to learn Muppet style puppetry with the cast of Sesame Street. The following year, she officially joined the Sesame Street cast becoming the first black female puppeteer.
On becoming the show’s first Black female puppeteer
Megan shared in a statement, “When I was just 10 years old, God told me that I would share His love through the world through puppetry & ventriloquism. 20 years later, I’m still performing and have the WILD opportunity to play Gabrielle on Sesame Street. This is only the beginning of my story and my journey walking in my purpose.”
She hopes to open more doors for people of color.
While Sesame Street is attempting to showcase diversity in their TV casting, any efforts being made at the Theme Park are being overshadowed. Recently Sesame Place was sued for $25 million for alleged race discrimination after a Black child was ignored by characters at the park. The lawsuit is seeking class action status to represent all Black guests who faced discrimination at Sesame Place at any point after July 27, 2018.