Ji-Young- Sesame Street’s First Asian American Character
Kids love to see themselves in their favorite shows. And after 52 seasons, the first Asian American muppet has been introduced to join the cast of the iconic PBS children’s show, Sesame Street. After first airing in November of 1969, the show has become a staple in many households as a fun and educational television show to keep kids entertained while also having them learn important lessons. This new muppet, named Ji-Young, is joining a cast of well-known characters including Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, Elmo, and Cookie Monster.
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Who is Ji-Young, Sesame Street’s New Character?
Ji-Young is a seven-year-old Korean-American. She is described by Sesame Workshop, as a spunky kid who loves to play her electric guitar, play soccer, and roll along the street on her skateboard. Ji-Young will be performed by Sesame Workshop puppeteer, Kathleen Kim.
She will be featured in Sesame Street’s upcoming TV Special, “See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special”, which aims to celebrate the diversity of Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The show is taking important steps to have diversity and celebrate different identities on their show.
This is not the first time Sesame Street has added a new face to the list of characters already on its program. Over the years, there have been many additions to the cast that have brought more inclusion to the show and addressed important topics. In 2015, Julia was introduced as the first autistic character and in 2011, Lily, the first character on the show who struggled with food insecurity and was also unhoused was introduced.
Representation on screen is so important for young kids growing up. Kids look up to characters on screen and having this new character will help an entire community of small kids by having someone on screen who they can relate to and learn from. Representation often allows kids to form their own identities and understand who they want to be.