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American Girl to introduce new Korean-American and Native Hawaiian Dolls

A Korean-American aspiring filmmaker and a Native Hawaiian who helps with the war effort during World War II are among the new dolls American Girl is set to release this year.

American Girl announced the introduction of the new dolls along with the news that the company will be releasing its first male doll on Wednesday. A new African-American doll, Gabriela McBride, has been available in stores since January.

The new Korean-American American Girl is named Z. Yang.
A Korean American, Z. Yang is described as a creative aspiring filmmaker. American Girl

Since American Girl characters and stories help build self-confidence, inspire creativity, and give girls a broader understanding of the world—we now have even more for parents like you to love too,” the company said in a statement.

Z. Yang, the new Korean-American character, is described as a “an imaginative filmmaker” who uses her creative talents to connect with the people around her. “Her stories remind girls that everyone has a unique perspective to share—even if it’s not perfect,” the site reads. She is expected to be released this spring.

Yang is the company’s first Asian-American doll since Ivy Ling was retired by the company in 2014.

Set for a fall release is Nanea Mitchell, a Native Hawaiian girl growing up during World War II in what was then a U.S. territory. “Nanea’s stories teach girls that kokua—doing good deeds and giving selflessly—sometimes require sacrifice,” American Girl writes on its site.

Nanea Mitchell, the new Native Hawaiian American Girl doll.
Nanea Mitchell learns the importance of generosity and sacrifice throughout her stories. 

 

According to American Girl, the new dolls are a direct response to requests from parents and children for more diverse stories.

We do an enormous amount of research with girls and their parents,” Julie Parks, a spokesperson for American Girl, told TODAY.

The one thing we’ve heard loud and clear is a desire for more — specifically more characters and stories from today — with more experiences, more diversity, and more interests.”

Ken Jeong moves to center stage on ABC comedy ‘Dr. Ken’

Ken Jeong: I Was an 'Intense' Doctor Before I Became an Actor

LA Times (by Greg Braxton):

Comedian Ken Jeong used to be a doctor in real life. Now he’s playing one on TV. The outrageous Jeong, who has been a reliable comedic sprinkle in movies (“The Hangover” franchise) and TV shows (“Community“), is moving to center stage with his own sitcom, ABC’s “Dr. Ken.”

Although Jeong is the main focus, he stressed that the series is an ensemble show with its settings in the medical office and his home.

It’s ensemble driven, with my life as a doctor serving as a building block,” said Jeong at a Television Critics Assn. press tour presentation.

When one reporter at the session pointed out that ABC was the same network that programmed the ill-fated “American Girl” with Margaret Cho 20 years ago, Jeong said that he was very involved in his show, both as a writer and a producer, and that Cho likely was not allowed that level of creative participation.

The series features Jeong as a brilliant physician whose bedside manner can be best described as “edgy.” Although he is trying to get better, his staff is always after him to be nicer. He’s also a devoted husband and father who is overprotective of his two children.

He jokingly referred to himself as a “second-generation Asian American Fred MacMurray,” referring to the classic father figure in the 1960s sitcom “My Three Sons.”

Jeong was a physician in an HMO several years ago, doing stand-up comedy on the side. He said he was very intense and serious as a doctor and that his patients were relieved when they learned that he had a sideline as a comedian.

They said, ‘It’s so good you have a hobby,’ ” Jeong said. When Judd Apatow cast him as a doctor in “Knocked Up,” Jeong won raves for his comic timing and persona.

“‘Knocked Up’ changed my life,” he said. His wife encouraged him to pursue show business full time.

Jeong is one of the executive producers and a writer for “Dr. Ken.”

Meet Mutya, the new Filipina Barbie Doll!

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 5.24.14 PM

Audrey Magazine:

I know what you’re thinking. Barbie may not be the best role model for children (especially with all the unrealistic body standards), but we’ve got to hand it to Mattel, they’ve definitely put in effort to try and be inclusive.

In 2014, American Girl discontinued their one and only Asian American doll and we were devastated. After all, it’s not often that our little ones get the opportunity to see their culture and experiences reflected in something as mainstream as an American Girl doll. This is why we were three times happier when, while looking for an alternative Asian doll, we discovered that Barbie has been creating ethnically diverse Barbie dolls for years.

Most recently, a Filipina Barbie doll named Mutya Barbie has been added to the roster. Mutya is the third face in the Global Glamour Collection which also features Tribal Beauty Barbie and Venetian Muse Barbie.

Mutya Barbie was designed by Carlyle Nuera as his debut doll for The Barbie Collection. Needless to say, he made sure every single detail was given proper attention. It seems every aspect of the dress pays homage to Filipino culture. Not only did he choose to dress Mutya in a terno, a traditional Filipino dress worn on special occasions by women in the early 1900’s, but even the details of the dress try to capture the many aspects of Filipino culture and fashion.

carlyle

Nuera spoke to barbiecollector.com and gave more details about the beautiful doll:

“Mutya” means pearl or beauty or muse; it’s a girl’s name, and is also used in the titles of beauty pageants in the Philippines. Mutya Barbie® will have the Kira face sculpt; I know a lot of collectors have a lot of love and nostalgia for that face sculpt, as do I, since that was a face sculpt I grew up with!

Her organza overdress is a take on the terno, with the unmistakeable butterfly sleeves. The organza’s print references textiles of the different tribes in the Philippines, as well as the sun from the flag. The embroidery on the hem is inspired by the sampaguita, a jasmine flower that is the national flower of the Philippines. The details of Mutya Barbie’s jewelry refer back to tambourine jewelry as well.

 

If you’re looking to get Mutya on your shelf, you may have to move quickly. Mutya Barbie has a limited release of only 4,400 dolls and we have a feeling she’ll be sold out pretty quick.

 mutya 1

mutya 2

mutya 3

mutya 4

Link

American Girl discontinues its only Asian-American doll

 

NBC:

Seven years ago, American Girl introduced its first Asian-American doll in its exclusive historical line: Ivy Ling, a Chinese-American girl growing up in San Francisco during the 1970s. Though she was a companion to another doll, Ivy represented a quiet acknowledgement of the rapidly growing Asian-American consumer population and their place in U.S. history.

But this fall, she’s going away. Ivy and three others dolls are being “archived” as part of the toy company’s rebranding of its historical line. In addition to Ivy, American Girl is also discontinuing another doll of color, Cecile Rey, a girl with African-American and French roots living in New Orleans during the 1850s.

Though American Girl has “retired” its dolls before, this marks the first time the company, owned by Mattel, has archived any of its historical characters of color. The decision, announced in late May, sparked criticism and anger.

Two Asian American sisters, ages 10 and 14, have started a petition, calling on American Girl to commit to creating a new Asian-American doll. The petition, through the activist group 18 Million Rising, says, “If you don’t have the doll, then you don’t have the story.”

It doesn’t make sense to me as a parent…It seems like it’s limiting our children’s choices and diminishing the Asian-American voice.

 

How can the historical line represent America if there are no Asians?” asked one grandmother of biracial granddaughters on American Girl’s Facebook page.

American Girl’s historical line consists of characters that “bring to life important times for America,” according to a company description. Caroline, for example, is a “brave girl growing up during the War of 1812.” Kit and Ruthie are “resourceful girls growing up during the Great Depression.”

To many, the company’s decision to discontinue Ivy and Cecile — two dolls of color — underscores the disconnect between corporate decision-making and potential consumer demand among minority communities, particularly in an era that finds the U.S. population becoming increasingly diverse. By 2017, Asian Americans are expected to have a collective buying power of $1 trillion, and African Americans, a collective buying power of $1.3 trillion, according to reports by Nielsen.

The bottom line is (American Girl) is a company and they need to make money. They care about social issues as long as they make money,” said Elizabeth Chin, a professor at the Art Center College of Design, who has written extensively on children, popular culture and race.

An American Girl spokeswoman said the decision to discontinue the dolls was not based on sales.

Retiring and introducing new characters helps us keep the line fresh,” said Julie Parks.

According to Parks, the decision to archive the four dolls — which also include white dolls Marie-Grace and Ruthie — came from a new strategy to end having companions to its main historical characters. Both Ivy and Ruthie were sidekicks to other girls, while Marie-Grace and Cecile were paired together.

We do strive for inclusivity…it is impossible to be all things to all people.”

But even among American Girl’s existing customer base, the doll’s disappearance was poorly received. For her daughter’s ninth birthday this spring, Nina Ha gave her an American Girl doll and celebrated with a special lunch at the American Girl store in Los Angeles.

Ha, a mother of two, said that she hopes the outcry will make American Girl reconsider its decision.

It doesn’t make sense to me as a parent,” said Ha. “I don’t see the benefit of taking away their only Asian-American doll. It seems like it’s limiting our children’s choices and diminishing the Asian-American voice.”

At upwards of $100 each, the 18-inch dolls aren’t cheap. Accessories — from furniture to matching clothes — can add even more to the bill. But parents have often considered American Girl a wholesome alternative to other dolls and the company has been lauded for its efforts to teach girls about U.S. history.

We do strive for inclusivity,” said Parks, though noting “it is impossible to be all things to all people.”

I’ve always felt strongly they should have books and toys that reflect what they look like, and I’ve gone out of my way in the past to look for alternatives to Barbie,” said Katy Lee, a mother in Oakland, California, whose half-Chinese, six and eight-year-old daughters each own an American Girl doll.

It’s disappointing that the Asian-American experience is taken out of the picture, because it’s part of their heritage,” added Lee.

In the fall, the renamed “BeForever” line will include three dolls of color: Addy, an African-American runaway slave during the Civil War era; Josefina, a Mexican girl in Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1824; and Kaya, a Native American girl of the Nez Perce tribe in 1764. The remaining dolls are white.

We do plan on having new adventures and new diverse characters and new exposures to exciting eras and cultures,” said Parks.

For its part, American Girl has offered a handful of Asian-American dolls in the past. In 2006, it made Jess McConnell — a doll with Japanese-American and Irish-Scottish parents — its “Girl of the Year,” part of a limited collection of dolls available for one year. The company also carries a line of unnamed, “Bitty Baby” and customizable “My American Girl” dolls with various eye colors, hair colors, and skin tones.

Parks declined to disclose details about future dolls.

Check out this link:

American Girl discontinues its only Asian-American doll

Link

American Girl is no longer Asian

 

AsAm News:

American Girl’s Asian American Ivy doll will soon be a collector’s item. Jezebel reports the doll brand is discontinuing both its African American doll Cecile and Asian American doll Ivy.

American Girl made the announcement on Facebook in this post.

There are currently no other Asian dolls in the American Girl line.

Check out this link:

American Girl is no longer Asian