When I was approached to review a new American Girl doll, to be honest, I was slightly reluctant. My knowledge of the dolls through friends and family led me to believe they had an issue with diversity. In addition, the dolls and their accessories were rather expensive. But since this new doll is a young black girl from the Civil Rights Movement, I decided to accept their offer. I’m happy I did.
To be fair, my daughter is the one who is most happy, because she loves having a doll of this quality that looks like her. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – REPRESENTATION MATTERS.) I really appreciate the efforts put into creating this doll.
American Girl introduced Melody Ellison last year as part of its historical BeForever line, and what impresses me most is the attention to her backstory. Melody is a 9-year-old girl living in Civil Rights era Detroit. American Girl spent two years working on Melody and created an advisory board of prominent civil rights leaders and scholars to make sure she was truly accurate to the time.
American Girl created three books written about Melody Ellison and several Melody-themed activities on its website. Kids can watch a “Lift Your Voice” video with Melody video and even share their own inspiring videos and photos on how they make a difference in people’s lives using #LiftYourVoice. They also created a wonderful film available to watch on Amazon.com, An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win, featuring the brilliant young actress Marsai Martin from one of my fav shows, black-ish (honestly, she straight up steals episodes) about how Melody must find inner strength to restore her hope for a better world when national events create shock and tension all around.
DISCLOSURE: American Girl gave the author a doll at no cost, but he was under no obligation to write a positive review. A version of this post first appeared on The Brown Gothamite.