During Black History Month, American Girl has announced the release of a new doll named Melody Ellison, the company's third African-American doll in its BeForever historical line.
According to the American Girl website, Melody Ellison is an optimistic, enthusiastic 9-year-old girl growing up in Detroit during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. She loves to sing, and she is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to use her voice to make a difference.
Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing for American Doll told CBS News it's taken so long for such an important doll like Melody to be introduced because the company approaches every character very thoughtfully. "This isn't something we rush into," she explained. "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."
In fact, to ensure Melody's story rang true, American Girl formed a six-panel advisory board made up of historians and educators like the late civil rights activist Julian Bond. Lead designer Heather Northrop then worked with the team to make sure everything about Melody was authentic—from her hair (Northrop said she consulted the panel several times to get the texture right) to her recording studio that plays Motown music.
Kudos to American Girl for creating dolls that reflect the changing face of history. We may be too old to play with dolls, but we totally want one now, don't you? Melody will be available in stores late this summer, with a price tag of $115. But you can read all about her and watch a cool behind-the-scenes video on the American Girl website.