Sesame Street will debut its first ever Asian American Muppet character in an upcoming episode.
Set to air on Thanksgiving Day (November 25) in the US, See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special will mark the debut of new character Ji-Young.
The character is described as 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”.
The description adds: “Ji-Young also loves playing soccer and rolling along the street on her skateboard. 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 favourite food – tteokboki. Her family eats dinner together at the kitchen table every night, chatting in both Korean and English.”
Designed to spark viewer discussion about anti-Asian racism, the special will see Ji-Young being told to “go home” off-screen. 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,” according to the Sesame Workshop.
The special also features celebrity guests including actors Simu Liu and Anna Cathcart, chef Melissa King, athlete Naomi Osaka, TV personality Padma Lakshmi and comic book artist Jim Lee.
Writing about his experience recording the episode on Twitter, Liu said: “I’ve had the privilege of experiencing so many incredible things over the past couple years, but this definitely sticks out.
Sunny days with Big Bird and Ji-Young!
Tune in this Thanksgiving for a very special @SesameStreet where we talk about the value of representation and introduce the first Asian American muppet in the neighborhood!
I can’t believe I got a selfie with Big Bird. pic.twitter.com/OD18Y7GQWI
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) November 16, 2021
“Welcome to Sesame Street, Ji-Young! I’m so glad I got to hang out with you.”
Sesame Street introduced two Black Muppet characters earlier this year to educate children about racism. In June, the show also featured two gay dads to celebrate Pride month.
See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special will air Thursday November 25 on HBO Max and Sesame Street’s YouTube channel.