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Who Knew Barney Was A Black Man?

The 1990s were the formative years for many millennials. The decade shaped our tastes in movies, music and basically anything pop-culture related. While growing up, every generation has beloved childhood characters they watch on TV. If you’re a child of the ’90s, you most likely watched Barney, the big purple dinosaur known for spreading love and teaching life lessons.

On Wednesday, many on social media were surprised to find out Barney was a Black man. That’s right. From 1991-2001, Barney was played by software analyst-turned-live mannequin-turned Barney, David Joyner.

Joyner, 53, shared with Business Insider the story of how he became Barney and how he identifies with the message of love the character was known for.

When you hear Joyner’s story, it’s clear he was meant to be Barney. He went from being a software analyst at Texas Instruments to being a live mannequin and then going into his Barney audition, breathing life into the character after he had a dream telling him to do so.

You’re probably wondering what it was like being in that Barney costume.

“Being inside this costume is pretty cool,” Joyner said. “Now Barney is about 70 pounds, and it can get over 120 degrees inside. So inside, you’re sweating profusely. It’s a T-rex, so you’re basically just up to your elbows in being able to move. And then also, Barney’s feet were huge. Now I did have some sneakers inside that were glued to the bottom of the feet.”

The only way Joyner was able to see was through Barney’s mouth.

Joyner also talked about the classic Barney song that goes, “I love you, you love me. We’re a happy family.”

“It’s a beautiful thing to know how that song has impacted pretty much this next generation,” he said.

After playing Barney for 10 years, Joyner wanted a new challenge and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He’s appeared on shows such as ShamelessThat ’70s ShowER, 24, and The Young and the Restless.

Another fun fact about Joyner is he currently plays Hip Hop Harry, a rapping and break-dancing teddy bear who runs an after-school center called Hip Hop Central in the video short Hip Hop Harry Toy Review.

Black History month is clearly year-round.