Ms. Rachel Will Not Be Canceled for Celebrating Inclusion

After a brief social media break, ‘Songs For Littles’ star Ms. Rachel is back with a message on the importance of boundaries and kindness.

Ms. Rachel

Courtesy of Ms. Rachel

Rachel Griffin Accurso, aka Ms. Rachel of Songs for Littles, posted that she'd be taking a TikTok break for her mental health on February 27. Citing "hurtful videos and comments" as the reason behind her social media hiatus, I just about lost my mind thinking about how anyone could come after the YouTube educator that my family adores. Who has anything but beautiful things to say about the singing, overalls-wearing angel who played a role in my toddler's language explosion?

Although Accurso hasn’t officially addressed the exact reason for her time away from social media (she says she’s “taking a break from interviews and all focus is on my work” when Parents reached out), it didn’t take long for fans to recognize what was going on. While much of the chatter online is nothing but love for Accurso’s co-star Jules Hoffman, who uses they/them pronouns, some conservative parents have criticized the YouTuber for featuring Jules in her videos. Hoffman seemingly confirmed the controversy in a TikTok on March 2.

“I didn’t know how to respond to everything that is going on. I want to address the [elephant] in the room in the best way I know how—by teaching kids about love and acceptance,” Hoffman wrote in part in the caption on TikTok. “Kids around us, they are absorbing and [looking] to us for our responses, how we react, how we treat others.” 

Hoffman was back on TikTok on March 4, this time with a more emotional message of acceptance. “These conversations we are having as a collective are important,” Hoffman captioned the video. “Fact: they will save lives. They will make the future better for the younger generation. I found out just a few days after a major surgery what was going on… I had no idea the scale or scope of what was happening but I knew I needed to speak up."

Hoffman goes on to say, "I promise I will get to all of your loving messages as soon as I can. Thank you for holding me this week. For loving me. Showing up for me. I know the love is louder than the hate, cause y’all proved it. What can we do now? We keep protecting, and showing up for our LGBTQ friends, family, youth, children, everybody.”

Accurso returned to TikTok just a couple of days later with a message on self-care—this time sporting a pink and white sweater instead of her usual Ms. Rachel outfit. It was seemingly a reminder to viewers that, yes, she is a real person with real feelings and not just a character for their enjoyment.

“I was able to spend some time thinking about setting social media boundaries for myself, which is a good practice for a lot of people," Accurso says in the video. "And with social media boundaries, you figure out ways to protect yourself." She goes on to thank everyone for their love—reiterating she does what she does to serve children and their families and share love and kindness.

At the end of the day, Accurso, Hoffman, and the entire Songs For Littles cast did receive an overwhelming outpouring of love that drowned out much of the negativity—and they deserve nothing but that. Any hate, any drama, has no room in this conversation. Representation, inclusion, and acceptance are crucial, especially when it comes to what we're teaching our kids. The diversity on Songs For Littles was intentional, and parents like me are thankful for that.

“Every child deserves to see themselves in the shows they watch,” Accurso previously told Parents. “It’s an honor to have this platform, and we’re fortunate to be able to use it to bring in so many talented creators and performers. We’re committed to making sure that kids and their families who watch our show feel included and celebrated.” 

For Hoffman, it’s essential that kids see themselves reflected on Songs For Littles and any entertainment they’re consuming. “The more representation we have, the more opportunity the child and the caregiver have to feel safe and seen,” they told Parents. “I try to be authentically me so the children (and parents) watching know it’s OK to be authentically them and that they will be loved and cherished, and even celebrated for that authenticity.”

There will be no canceling of Ms. Rachel—or Jules for that matter—for doing exactly what they set out to do: create high-quality early childhood education that celebrates all sorts of families.

“My central goal is to make this world a better place for our future generations,” says Hoffman. “I believe we can do that through teaching empathy and kindness to kids. I try to do that from the moment I wake up and move through my day to the songs I write for kids, reminding them ‘It’s OK to Cry,’ have big feels, and be who they are.” 

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