PBS station defends drag queen skit for kids: 'performance art that can inspire creative thinking'
'The hips on the drag queen go swish, swish, swish. Swish, swish, swish.'
A PBS station in New York is getting attention for airing a children's program that featured a singing and dancing drag queen.
The skit was part of a "Let's Learn" television series that is produced in partnership with WNET and the New York City Department of Education. Footage surfaced on social media with the drag queen known as "Lil' Miss Hot Mess" promoting their book "The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish."
The skit received a wave of backlash from social media users. It appeared to be a project specific to WNET. and NYC's government. PBS clarified to Fox News that "Let's Learn" was "not funded or distributed by PBS."
During the program, Lil' Miss Hot Mess danced and sang to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus."
"The hips on the drag queen go swish, swish, swish. Swish, swish, swish. Swish, swish, swish," sang Lil Miss Hot Mess.
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The Let's Learn website says the program is for children ages 3-8.
"Let’s Learn storybooks are selected by early literacy experts at the New York City Department of Education," Lindsey Horvitz of WNET told Fox News on Thursday.
"The program strives to incorporate themes that explore diversity and promote inclusivity, which are relevant to education and society. Drag is a performance art that can inspire creative thinking and the questioning of stereotypes. Lil Miss Hot Mess is the author of the book, The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish. She serves on the global leadership team of Drag Queen Story Hour and has hosted readings at numerous libraries, children’s museums and schools across the country."
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Horvitz confirmed that the first episode aired on Mar. 31. "Stations schedule the program at their discretion so we don’t have an accounting of how many times it has aired," she said.
The book's cover features various drag queens, including one named Cinderfella, who donned a blue mustache and long blue hair.
"I wrote this book because I wanted everyone to get to experience the magic of drag, and to get a little practice shaking their hips or shimmying their shoulders – to know how we can feel fabulous inside of our own bodies," said Lil' Miss Hot Mess.
The book's characters included "Frida Bea Mee," "Jaclyn Jill," "Stinkerbelle," "Rita Booke," "Mother Lucy Goosey," "Pina Buttah-Gelee," and "Rosie Ringarounda," and "Ella Menopipi."
NYC Department of Education launched the "Let's Learn" program as a "supplemental resource for remote and blended learning," according to it's website.
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"Through lessons taped by educators, the program offers age-appropriate content that is aligned to education standards and lessons for early childhood education, focusing on foundational reading and writing skills, literacy, math, science, social studies and the arts," it reads.
"The series also supports social emotional learning and brings viewers on virtual field trips to see dance performances, meet animals, visit botanical gardens and more."