Monday, February 22, 2016

American Girl Melody Ellison Debuts on CBS This Morning

Internet-captured photo
of Melody Ellison

Scheduled for release this summer, Melody Ellison, a post Civil Rights-era American Girl doll in the BeForever Historical line, made her debut on the CBS This Morning show (this morning). The reporter, Jerika Duncan, asked some very valid questions of American Girl Vice President of Marketing, Julia Prohaska:

In the 30 years you have designed over 20 character dolls but only three of them have been black.  Why is that?  

And, 

Why did it take til 2016 to see a doll representative of one of the most important periods for African Americans today?

There is a link to the interview segment along with a link to a photo gallery below.   

It appears American Girl is using an existing head sculpt for Melody and not a newly fashioned one that would be unique to the doll, but not being an AG enthusiast, I am uncertain if this is fact.  Perhaps more informed American Girl collectors can let us know by placing a comment as to which head sculpt Melody uses.  

Watch the interview here.  A gallery of 17 photos of Melody, accessories, and other American Girl products can be viewed here.

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8 comments:

  1. That recording studio looks like it will be quite the accessory!

    As for the face, it looks like Melody has the head that was first used for Sonali, then Cécile, and for three of the non-character dolls.

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    1. I enjoyed the sneak peek at all Melody's accessories, but that studio does look fabulous. I can only imagine the price. I am grateful that I am strictly a doll person and have never been interested in all the extra furnishings and other things associated with dolls. I am sure there are several who will want to own everything because of the historical era Melody represents particularly those who lived through it.

      Thanks for letting me know the head sculpt. I thought it looked like the same sculpt used for Cécile but I wasn't sure. It would have been great to see a new face for Melody, but I guess we can't have it all.

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  2. Yeah, as jSarie mentioned, I'm pretty sure Melody is using the Sonali face mold. It was first used for Girl of the Year Chrissa Maxwell's best friend character. It was also used for Cécile as jSarie mentioned. I really really think that is such a great question why only three of the characters have been black. Also, there hasn't been nearly any Asian characters (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and others) and they have a big part in history too. How about Native dolls? There has only been very few of them too. Could this be because histories of people of color are often not given much attention? Also, it's really interesting in the doll world that model minorities are really underrepresented. There has really been only one American Girl character doll with an Indian heritage if I'm not mistaken, and that was Sonali. That said, although there are more Black and Hispanic dolls, there are still not enough of them in my opinion. We have great diversity in white dolls. In the same way, I think we really need to see more diversity and more dolls of color–Native dolls, Black dolls, Hispanic dolls, Indian dolls, Chinese dolls, Japanese dolls, Korean dolls, and many more.

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    1. Thanks for the confirmation on the face mold Bunnyisms.

      In answer to your question as to why more "dolls of color" are not produced, all non-white ethnicities have been underrepresented in the doll market in general. I have been preaching this sermon for the past 25 years but have now resigned myself to the fact that "like caters to like." Most doll companies are white owned. Creating dolls to represent people of other ethnicities is usually an afterthought or not a thought at all. The only way this will ever change is for more non-white people to produce quality dolls for both the play market and adult collectors. In turn, these companies will need the support from consumers. Without consumer support, they will be here today and gone tomorrow like so many others in the past.

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  3. This doll might be the AG who gets my money! Have you ever listed all of the known and little known black doll creators/producers? If not do you think you might one day?

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    1. That's a great idea. I'll put that on my to blog about list! Thanks for the suggestion!

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  4. I am glad to see another African American doll for the American Girl Company and that she represented an era in the 1960"s, where African Americans were fighting for civil rights.

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  5. The Civil Rights Movement was an important period in African American history. I am glad the company is using Melody to tell the story. I also like the fashions designed for her. She's dressed for the occasion and back then girls dressed up for most everything except outside play. She looks like the perfect little lady. (I still feel a new head sculpt would have been ideal and one without teeth.)

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!