Like many kids my age — heck, like many kids any age — I grew up in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Paired with Sesame Street, the two PBS shows were not just entertaining; they also laid a subtle foundation for literacy, curiosity, and creativity.
In the past few months, I've encountered, both in-person and online, assertions that Mr. Rogers' on-screen character was very different from his off-screen personality. This belief is in sharp contrast to any first-person reports I've heard from individuals who had the opportunity to encounter this preacher and teacher. Stories that, in a previous life, Fred Rogers was a military sniper, or that he wore cardigans to cover violent tattoos, struck me as disrespectful. Sure, society likes to see its celebrities fall — but Mr. Rogers' star should be above such sullying.
So when I saw floating around Facebook a Mr. Rogers music remix that debuted on YouTube just yesterday, I was hesitant. What was next — were they going to turn my childhood hero into a gangsta rapper?
See for yourself:
This remix is officially sponsored by PBS Digital Studios:
When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube, we immediately wanted to work together. Turns out that he is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes. Both PBS and the Fred Rogers Company hope you like John's celebration of Fred Rogers' message.
I think Mr. Rogers would be very pleased with the tasteful, respectful work this artist has produced, just as it made me happy and, at the same time, a bit sad. I can only hope our children have a Mr. Rogers of their own.