Meet Melody Ellison, American Girl’s newest historical doll and the third African-American figure produced within the company’s 30-year history.
Julia Prohaska, senior director of global brand at American Girl, describes Melody as a Detroit native coming of age in the Civil Rights era. She has aspirations of becoming a singer like her favorite Motown artists. The doll was created to celebrate American Girl’s 30th anniversary and will be available this summer.
“I think the doll industry has a very heavy responsibility in reflecting what is true about our society,” said Prohaska on CBS This Morning. She also shared that an advisory board of historians and educators, including late civil rights activist Julian Bond, assisted in the creation of the doll’s story and design.
Melody follows Addy, the first Black doll produced by the company who escaped slavery during the Civil War era, and Cecile, who lives in 19th century New Orleans.
According to Buzzfeed, Cecile was discontinued in 2014, along with the brand’s only Asian doll, resulting in backlash for removing two dolls of color from the collection.
American Girl dolls retail for $115.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.