The overalls are off: Ms. Rachel is back on social media with a message for her followers after taking a short break from the internet.
Rachel Griffin Accurso, known on her "Songs for Littles" channel as Ms. Rachel, shared an update on TikTok March 6 for the first time in a week.
"I'm back after a short break," Accurso says as the video begins.
Typically wearing her signature Ms. Rachel outfit — a pink shirt with denim overalls and a ponytail and headband —Accurso instead appears with her hair down wearing a pink and white checked shirt.
"I was able to spend some time thinking about setting social media boundaries for myself, which is a good practice for a lot of people," Accurso says in the short clip. "And with social media boundaries, you figure out ways to protect yourself and you recognize, 'Oh when I do this, I don't feel so good and so I'm going to do less of this.'
"And it's a good way to practice self-care, which is very important," she continues, "but I am here to serve children and their families every day and to share the love and kindness that we want to see reflected in the world. And thank you so much for all the love."
The preschool teacher turned YouTube star ended the 52-second video by saying "thank you" three times in a row. Her caption said simply: "Love > fear."
Accurso announced Feb. 27 she would be taking a break from TikTok for her mental health.
“Hurtful videos and comments, no matter how much attention they get, will not bring you what you want. Only love can do that,” she captioned the video, which has amassed more than nine million views since it was shared.
While the exact source of contention has not been formally identified, conservative influencers began to criticize the early childhood educator for including Jules Hoffman, who uses they/them pronouns, as a co-star in her videos.
In a March 2 video, Hoffman, a talented musician, responded to the ongoing controversy in a TikTok post.
“I didn’t know how to respond to everything that is going on. I want to address the (elephant emoji) in the room in the best way I know how — by teaching kids about love and acceptance. Kids around us, they are absorbing and (look)ing to us for our responses, how we react, how we treat others,” Hoffman captioned the video. “They remember what we say and what we believe and it can either bring them closer to us, to share their truest selves with us or push them away. Take care of yourselves and each other.”
They continued, "Reach down deep inside you when things get icky, take some deep breaths, sure— be crabby for a bit, remember it’s ok to cry and then respond with (heart emoji) and kindness. Let’s do this fam.”