Recently, 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. Well, this new doll is a young Black girl from the Civil Rights Movement, so I decided to support their efforts and accept their offer. I'm happy that 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 that were put went into creating this doll.
American Girl introduced Melody earlier this year in there BeForever line. Melody is a nine year old girl living in Civil Rights era Detroit. What impresses me most about the doll is the attention to her backstory. American Girl spent two years working on Melody and created an advisory board to make sure she was truly accurate. The board included:
- The late Horace Julian Bond, chairman emeritus, NAACP Board of Directors and founding member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
- Gloria House, director and professor emerita, African and African American Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn
- Juanita Moore , President and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and founding executive director of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis
- Rebecca de Schweinitz, associate professor of history, Brigham Young University, Utah, and author of If We Could Change the World: Young People and America's Long Struggle for Racial Equality
- Thomas J. Sugrue, professor of history at New York University and author of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
- JoAnn Watson, native of Detroit, ordained minister, and former executive director of the Detroit NAACP
American Girl has gone all out for Melody. There are three books written about Melody and Melody-themed Activities on the American Girl website. Kids can watch a Lift Your Voice with Melody video at www.americangirl.com/liftyourvoice and even share their own inspiring videos and photos on how they make a difference, using #LiftYourVoice. There is also a wonderful film on Amazon featuring the brilliant young actress Marsai Martin from one of my fav shows, black-ish (honestly, she straight up steals episodes). Check out this behind the scenes video about the film below.
As is the case with all American Girl dolls, there are plenty of accessories for Melody, too. So, if you're looking for an awesome Christmas gift, American Girl's Melody Ellison is a wonderful choice.
American Girl gave me a doll at no cost, but I was under no obligation to write a positive review.