American Girl addresses another chapter of black history with the release of civil rights era Melody Ellison.
This summer, in celebration of its 30th anniversary, American Girl is addressing another chapter of black history with the release of Melody Ellison.
Melody is a nine-year-old growing up in Detroit during the 1960s civil rights era, a girl who loves to sing and uses her voice to make a difference.
The company has recently come under criticism for discontinuing four characters; two of which were minorities – African American Cecile Rey and Chinese-American Ivy Ling.
According to CBS news report, in the last 30 years, American Girl has designed over 20 character dolls, but only three of them have been African American.
Melody is representative of arguably one of the most important periods for African Americans in U.S. history, and creates a new image of dolls and toys, in which little girls and boys of color would picture themselves.
Responding to why the character is only being introduced now in 2016, Prohaska, vice president of marketing at American Girls said, “We do approach every character very thoughtfully so this isn’t something we rush into. We’re not looking to address critical demand — we’re looking to tell stories in the most authentic and genuine way that we possibly can.”
Those stories include Kaya’s – a Native American doll who wants to become a leader for her people and Addy’s, a child slave who escaped to freedom.
American Girl formed a six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators, including the late civil rights activist Julian Bond.
Melody will be available in stores late this summer. Her price tag is $115, but if you also want the recording studio and all the rest of her accessories, which will set you back nearly $900.
In a complicated tradition of black dolls, Melody seems like a great inclusion to the collection.