When I was five, six, seven, and eight years old, Gullah Gullah Island was one of my favorite TV shows. I used to love the vibrancy of the cast, the song and dance, and the positive lessons portrayed on each episode. (And I can’t forget about how badly I wanted to jump on that tire swing whenever I saw someone playing on it.)
Plus, who could forget that colorful little theme song?
Come and let’s play together
In the bright, sunny weather
Let’s all go to, Gullah, Gullah Island
Gullah Gullah, Gullah Gullah!
Or the cute yellow frog Binyah Binyah?
As a kid, I’d noticed that the parents had an accent (I had always thought they were from the Caribbean) and that the majority of the cast was Black, but I never understood the cultural significance of a show like this until I got older. Not only was Gullah Gullah Island the first series on Nickelodeon to star an African American family set in a predominantly Black community, but it also highlights elements of the Gullah (or Geechee) culture of South Carolina and Georgia. (The Gullah people are descendants of African slaves who were able to preserve many linguistic and cultural elements from various parts of Central and West Africa. Hailing from the Lowcountry regions of South Carolina and Georgia, their unique English-based creole language is referred to as “Geechee” or “Gullah,” but has–over time–become stamps for the culture as a whole.)
Although the show ended in ’98 after a four-year run, it will always be one of those entertainment jewels from my childhood that I’ll always remember. Simply put: I loved this show!