If there’s one prevailing feeling from this year, it’s that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has ached in the same way. Whether through a shared sense of loss or from longing for a life we could no longer live.
And that’s true from Bangladesh to Brazil — or even all the way to Sesame Street.
The stars of Sesame Street were honored at Global Citizen Prize 2020 — airing and streaming around the world from Dec. 19 — with the Global Citizen Prize for Culture & Education. It was given in special recognition of their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, providing essential learning resources to children in lockdown.
The Sesame Workshop has spent the year providing important information about vital global issues for children in a clear and understandable way. They tell stories to children about HIV/AIDS, autism, homelessness, and more. It has helped keep children safe with the "ABCs of COVID-19", helping children understand what was happening around them.
And true to style, the cast of Sesame Street — a global family harking from South Africa, Afghanistan, China, and more — celebrated the win in song, joined by Grammy-winning star Alessia Cara.
It was a moving moment that underscored exactly what Global Citizen Prize is all about: celebrating communities around the world that have everything in common simply by virtue of being a human being — or, well, a muppet.
Alessia Cara first sang “So Much Alike” with the cast of Sesame Street in 2016. As she reunited with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and all their global pals in 2020, the song took on a new power. Now the song reflects on all the different ways the world has lived through the same hardship.
“Yes we all have different faces, we may come from different places,” they sang. “It's the differences that make us each unique.”
The cast was joined by a dancing John Oliver, comedian and host of Last Week Tonight, who previously on the show had spoken to Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Basma, Jad, and Chamki about all the incredible work they have been doing throughout the pandemic.
"We've been singing songs about staying healthy, doing meditation and exercise, and having virtual playdates!" a very dapper-looking Elmo told Oliver before they all had a big virtual hug.
However, the British comic stopped just short of joining in the singing, telling Elmo: “My shower doesn't want me to sing, it's heard it before, it doesn't like it!"
The performance from Alessia Cara and Sesame Street was one of many extraordinary moments throughout night. Other performances included a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” from JoJo and Tori Kelly; a musical collaboration between John Legend, Common, and the founders of Black Lives Matter; and appearances from Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Usher, and more.
Global Citizen Prize also saw awards go to Sir Elton John, Warren Buffett, Bryan Stevenson, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and LifeBank founder Temie Giwa-Tubosun. You can find out how you can watch the full show wherever you are here.
Join Global Citizen on December 19, 2020, to celebrate the leaders among us who have stepped up against a backdrop of unprecedented global challenges to take action for the world we want — a world that is fair, just, and equal.
The broadcast and digitally streamed award ceremony will also feature inspirational stories of human strength and unforgettable performances that will bring together artists, activists, and global leaders to remind each of us that, together, we will come out of this year stronger. Find out more about the Global Citizen Prize and how to watch here.