Philly Pride: Music teacher performs for empowerment, compassion

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As part of our celebration of Pride Month, we're shining a spotlight on a popular South Philadelphia music teacher.

He's endearingly known as Mister John, and his mission is showing students, young and old, the power of compassion and connection.

Through music, dance and play, he is celebrating all of the things that make us different, while reminding us that underneath it all we're all human.

Due to the pandemic, Mister John has taken classes virtual, but he's also launched a brand new show to bring all of those good feels and lessons right to your home.

For the past five years, Mister John's Music has been a wildly popular gathering space for families. John Francisco's message through music is clear.

"More kindness, inclusivity, recognizing diversity and celebrating our differences," Francisco said. "Not everybody walks through life the same way."

His classes start at birth.

"Expose them to people of different backgrounds, different abilities, of different creeds, so that they are open-minded and open-hearted," he said. "And greeting the world not from a place of fear but taking confusion and turning it into curiosity and creation and connection."

As a queer educator, it's that idea of self-love that drives him.

"I think about when I was a kid and how nice that would have been in rural Georgia to have somebody say these specific things to me, 'hey, love yourself, hey, who you are is okay.,'" he said.

And: it's okay to talk about your feelings

His message of compassion is also for the caregivers

"How to really express unconditional love and say, 'I'm here for you always, no matter what,' and that's really all a child needs," he said.

He even has celebrity friends following along, like Katy Perry!

His studio is also known for drag queen storytime.

"Today we're going to talk about what we like about ourselves on the inside," he said in one video.

That confidence to stand up and speak up for who you are as you are.

"Hits our core values of self-love and inclusion and acceptance of everyone," he said

When in-person classes resume, if you bring your little one, also bring your singing voice.

He will call on you to stand up and sing out, with the goal of showing your kids to be brave.
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