Sesame Street introduces first Asian American puppet
New character the first of more Asian & Pacific Islanders to feature in long-running children's series.
Sesame Street will feature its first Asian American character in an upcoming US special, See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special.
The new character is named Ji-Young “a spunky seven-year-old who loves to play her electric guitar and is always willing to play a song with her friends on Sesame Street.”
“Ji-Young also loves playing soccer and rolling along the street on her skateboard,” a description notes. “Ji-Young is extremely close with her family and is proud of her Korean heritage. She loves playing music with her grandma and cooking her favorite food – tteokboki. Her family eats dinner together at the kitchen table every night, chatting in both Korean and English.”
Performed by puppeteer Kathleen Kim, the new character is designed to foster viewer discussion about anti-Asian racism. In an offscreen incident, another child tells Ji-Young to “go home.” According to the Workshop, after the incident, “Ji-Young seeks out trusted grown-ups and friends who unite to help her know that she’s exactly where she belongs.”
“It’s a powerful thing when kids see people like themselves represented on screen and in stories – it supports them as they figure out who they are and who they want to be,” said co-director Alan Muraoka. “We can’t wait for families to get to know Ji-Young – in this special and in future seasons of Sesame Street – and celebrate some of the Asian and Pacific Islander people in our neighbourhood.”
Sesame Street screens in Australia on ABC Kids.