Reneé Rapp and Elmo Are the Lesbian Pop Star/Children’s TV Crossover of the Century

When I think of potential Reneé Rapp crossover events, Sesame Street is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind. And yet, seeing the Mean Girls star sitting next to Elmo, as she was in her most recent Instagram post, makes total sense somehow.

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The singer didn’t explicitly say that she would be guest-starring on an episode of the beloved children’s program, but her Instagram caption does read “mom I was literally on Sesame Street.” The carousel features a short, adorable clip of Rapp and Elmo cuddling and a photo of the two sitting on a stoop. Sandwiched in between is a baby photo that we have to assume is of Rapp, wearing Elmo booties. And on the post, Elmo himself commented, “Let’s be besties forever and ever!” punctuated with a red heart emoji. A full circle moment, indeed.

Again, I was initially a little confused by the crossover event of Reneé “[lesbian] Justin Bieber” Rapp and Sesame Street. But once that half-second of confusion subsided, it made me kind of emotional? I don’t think it’s just me either — who among the chronically online could forget Elmo’s “just checking in” post this January. (And if you did forget, the post went viral because people, generally speaking, are doing… poorly.)

I think my reaction also has something to do with the fact that Rapp is probably one of the biggest openly gay pop stars right now, and she’s totally unafraid of putting the gay aspect of herself front and center in a way that somehow manages not to be corny. (Her cover of “Linger” with her newly hard-launched boo, guitarist Towa Bird, echoes in my head constantly.) That’s despite the fact that we live in a time in which right-wingers are widely smearing queer celebrities as “groomers”, especially when it comes to children’s media. And Rapp has already shown that she isn’t afraid of speaking up even when it could come at great professional risk to her, as she did when calling for an “immediate” and “permanent” ceasefire in Gaza during her acceptance speech for the outstanding music artist at the GLAAD Awards last Thursday. An unabashedly lesbian pop star appearing on one of the most beloved children’s programs of all time does mean a lot, especially when queer kids themselves are desperately in need of positive representation right now.

There’s no word yet on when a Reneé Rapp episode of Sesame Street could air, but if it does I’ll absolutely be tuning in.

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