Sesame Street is introducing its first Asian-American muppet and it’s doing so with the help of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu. On Monday, Sesame Workshop announced the introduction of Ji-Young, a Korean American muppet who will make their debut on See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special that will debut on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25. The special will air on Cartoonito on HBO Max, PBS Kids, and Sesame Street’s YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
The special will follow the Sesame Street characters as they celebrate “Neighbor Day”, including Ji-Young, performed by Sesame Workshop puppeteer Kathleen Kim. The special will feature celebrity guests including Liu as well as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before‘s Anna Cathcart, DC Comics’ Jim Lee, and more.
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Today, we uphold that mission by empowering children and families of all races, ethnicities, and cultures to value their unique identities,” Kay Wilson Stallings, Sesame Workshop’s Executive Vice President of Creative and Production said in a statement. “See Us Coming Together continues Sesame Street’s proud legacy of representation with an engaging story that encourages empathy and acceptance and uplifts Asian and Pacific Islander communities. With the generous support of The Asian American Foundation, Ford Foundation, and P&G/Pampers, we’re proud to bring this special to life.”
The special is also part of Sesame Workshop’s “Coming Together” initiative and will include an opportunity to talk about anti-Asian racism with Ji-Young experiencing another child telling her to “go home” off-screen. After the incident, Ji-Young seeks out friends and trusted grown-ups to help her know she’s exactly where she belongs. A viewing guide and materials for adults and children to do together will be available the week of the special.
“It’s a powerful thing when kids see people like themselves represented on screen and in stories-it supports them as they figure out who they are and who they want to be,” Alan Muraoka, longtime Sesame Street cast member and co-director of See Us Coming Together said. “We can’t wait for families to get to know Ji-Young-in this special and in future seasons of Sesame Street-and celebrate some of the Asian and Pacific Islander people in our neighborhood!”