A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Kids can learn social-emotional concepts like communication, as well as cultural history and customs -- and the importance of standing up for yourself and your loved ones.
Broad messages about acceptance and communication and the importance of learning about diversity. Messages about body autonomy, treating people with compassion, and the support you can get from family and friends.
Positive Role Models
The kids are curious, fun-loving, and and kind to each other. Characters are open to learning from each other and trusted adults.
The core group of kids are from different backgrounds; of those discussed, some are Black, one is White, and one has a mom from the Dominican Republic and a Black dad and another has a Black mom and a Korean dad. Some of the parents shown are LGBTQ+, and a grandmother plays a main role as well. As one multiracial character sings, "I take my shoes off at the door like Dad and we put on K-Pop shows." Black characters share their nightly hair process with a curious White friend.
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Violence & Scariness
There's a song about feeling scared by seeing people of color hurt and in peril on the news.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rise Up, Sing Out is a series of animated musical shorts produced by musicians Ahmir Questlove Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) that educate young kids on the importance of diversity, communication, and friendship. In each approximately 3-minute episode, a diverse group of kids share ideas, sometimes have conflicts, and then sing songs that answer questions like "Is it OK for another person to touch my hair without permission?" or " What's it like to have parents from two different cultures?" Concepts addressed through the show's songs include microagressions, hearing scary news on TV, Black hair routines, and more, all explored in an age-appropriate way. These segments are excellent conversation starters for the whole family about racism, diversity, and how to treat people with compassion and respect.
Is It Any Good?
These charming, super-informative musical shorts give kids powerful tools to communicate about and understand diversity, and Questlove's beats aren't too shabby, either. The animation is vibrant, with handpainted-style backgrounds, cute faces, and bold colors perfect for preschooler age-viewers. Some of the language can feel a little advanced for the intended age range; for example, "microagressions" is a long (but necessary) word. But the positive messages are crystal clear, and the series deserves kudos for not sugarcoating or over-simplifying real issues that audiences young and old can learn from. And other than that, it's wholly age-appropriate, showing kids that it's OK to ask questions and be curious about other people's experiences.
You can definitely hear a bit of The Roots in each upbeat song written by founding members Questlove and Black Thought. Some parents might be reminded of the classic "One to Grown On" segments shown on Saturday mornings in the '80s, but these shorts are relevant, real, and most of all, fun for kids to watch.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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