Friday, September 08, 2006

Bedtime, Raffi, And Integrity

Abbi and I were sitting by the fire in our Nantucket cottage last Sunday night when Chris ran in from Ethan's makeshift bedroom. A few hundred miles from his own bed with a new little brother on his mom's hip, and hurricane blowing outside, E was being extra difficult.

"Have you seen his Raffi CD?"

I'm an uncle, not a father. I don't know much about children's toys or programming. I don't know from Dan Zanes. But I know Raffi, and I know how much he means to Ethan's bedtime.

That was Sunday. Today is Friday. In my periodic Googling of all things Mister Rogers, I just found this:

    The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is proud to announce that this year's winner of the Fred Rogers Integrity Award is Raffi Cavoukian, the beloved children's troubadour. The award, named in honor of the host of the award winning PBS children’s program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, will be given each year by CCFC to the public figure whose efforts to protect children from harmful marketing best embody Fred Rogers' long-standing commitment to nurturing the health and well-being of America's children.

    Raffi Cavoukian is a renaissance man known to millions simply as Raffi: a renowned Canadian troubadour, record producer, systems thinker, author, entrepreneur and ecology advocate, once called “the most popular children’s entertainer in the western world” (Washington Post). President of Troubadour Music, among the most successful independent record labels, Raffi was a pioneer in music for children and families: his CDs, tapes, videos, and DVDs have sold over 14 million copies in Canada and the US, and his books, more than 3 million copies. A generation saw him in concert and grew up singing Down by the Bay and Raffi’s signature song Baby Beluga. “Beluga “grads” often tell him they’re now raising their own kids with his songs.

    In his 3 decade career, Raffi has refused all commercial endorsement offers, and his triple-bottom-line company has never directly advertised or marketed to children. He is a passionate advocate for a child’s right to live free of commercial exploitation. Recently, he sent an open letter to Rogers Wireless urging they stop marketing cellphones to kids, and turned down a Baby Beluga film proposal whose funding depended on direct advertising to children.

Guess we're going to Boston.

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