The fact that my daughter is too small for American Girl dolls is causing me no end of turmoil, because my parents live right near the American Girl store in Chicago, and every time I pass the windows promoting their newest historical doll, Melody, it’s all I can do to keep from running in and just buying everything, because Melody and all of her clothes and accessories are fantastic. And now, best of all, she’s getting a series of movies starring 12-year-old Marsai Martin.
On Black-ish, Martin plays Diane, the smart, deadpan, possibly slightly evil youngest daughter. She gets some of the best lines and constantly steals scenes even from the grown-ups. (The fact that Diane has a deep, unexplained enmity with her father’s adult male coworker, Charlie, is one of the funniest and weirdest things on the show.) She’s a great actress and also a brilliant singer, which will probably serve her well in the upcoming An American Girl Story — Melody 1963: Love Has to Win, which premieres on Amazon on October 21.
Melody Ellison lives in Detroit in 1963 and she wants to be a singer, and her story focuses on the birth of Motown and the civil rights movement. According to Essence, the story will follow Melody as her “eyes are opened to the racial inequality surrounding her, including the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing.”
“The American Girl — Melody special is an empowering and inspiring story that will quickly become a favorite for young girls, while bringing families together to help start a healthy dialogue,” Tara Sorensen, Amazon Studios’ head of kids’ programming, said. “Although our special is historical, the themes presented are sadly very timely and relevant for the world in which kids today are exposed.”
The trailer looks pretty powerful. It shows the beginnings of Melody’s journey and self-reflection as she comes to the decision that “it’s important to stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.” That’s a pretty appropriate lesson for kids of any era.