Sesame Street has its first Asian-American Muppet, Ji-Young, who debuts on the show on Thanksgiving. Ji-Young is a Korean-American girl who skateboards and plays the guitar. Sesame Workshop told the New York Times it created Ji-Young to support families of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage as part of its racial justice initiative called “Coming Together”, which premiered in summer 2020.
Ji-Young was introduced on NBC’s Today November 15.
Season 52 of Sesame Street began last week on the Cartoonito programming block on HBO Max. It features human characters of Asian descent, such as Alan Muraoka, who is Japanese-American and owns Hooper’s Store. An episode on February 17 sees Muraoka share his heritage with the gang.
The Thanksgiving episode is called See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special. Simu Liu, star of Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings, and tennis standout Naomi Osaka will also appear. The New York Times said Ji-Young encounters racism in the episode, and then her friends rally behind her. ■
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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