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Sesame Street new Muppet is Asian-American: Meet Ji-Young


The long-running children’s show is set to debut a new character — a seven-year-old Asian-American who loves skateboarding and playing guitar.

The newest kid on the block at Sesame Street is Korean-American Ji-Young.

The show’s first Asian-American Muppet will make her official debut in late November.

Her name boasts a double meaning, according to the seven-year-old Muppet herself.

Ji could mean “smart or wise,” while Young translates to “courageous and strong,” the character told the Associated Press. But, as it turned out, ji also refers to “sesame” — go figure.

Aside from her love of soccer, skateboarding and playing guitar, Ji-Young also brings to the table her Korean heritage, particularly one of her favourite foods, a chewy rice cake called tteokbokki.

The woman behind the Muppet, 41-year-old Kathleen Kim, began her work in puppetry during her 30s and joined a Sesame Street workshop in 2014 — a dream come true for the lifelong fan.

She shared her excitement, as well as her fear, regarding the historic new cast member. “I feel like I have a lot of weight that maybe I’m putting on myself to teach these lessons and to be this representative that I did not have as a kid,” Kim told the AP.

The inception of Ji-Young came out of the non-profit Sesame Workshop’s Coming Together initiative, launched in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests against police brutality and racial bias, as well as the number of anti-Asian attacks, seemingly prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the AP.

Coming Together was a way to “meet the moment,” said Kay Wilson Stallings, executive vice president of creative and production for the workshop, and aims to promote diversity on-screen, as well as behind the camera.

“Today, we uphold (Sesame Workshop’s) mission by empowering children and families of all races, ethnicities and cultures to value their unique identities,” said Stallings in a statement to The New York Post.

This article was originally published by the New York Post and reproduced with permission



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