American Girl debuted a new doll named Melody Ellison, a Black girl from Detroit who aspires to be a singer.
The story of 9-year-old Melody is of a girl who grows up in the civil rights movement and wants to find her voice in Motown sound. The newcomer is a “civil rights believer, chorus leader, and daughter of Detroit,” said the company in a press statement.
Melody is the second Black doll to be added to the American Girl Collection following Addy Walker, a girl who escaped slavery with her mother in 1860s.
For accuracy and authenticity, American Girl consulted with a “six-member advisory board” that included Juanita Moore, President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the late Horace Julian Bond, NAACP Board of Directors,” said the company.
“I relished everything about the Melody project—from being a part of the discussion concerning Melody’s appearance—her hair and skin color, clothes, and accessories—to reading manuscripts, ensuring that her African American lifestyle and cultural practices were accurate and reflective of the 1960s,” said Gloria House, Melody advisory board member. “I hope Melody and her stories inspire young girls today, offering them an experience rich in basic political and social concepts that they will be able to apply in their own lives.”
The Melody doll and her novel, No Ordinary Sound, are available on americangirl.com. The company has also donated $175,000 worth of Melody books, dolls, and cash to the 22 public libraries in Detroit.