First Asian-American muppet set to arrive on ‘Sesame Street’

  • “Sesame Street” will debut its first Asian-American muppet in an upcoming Thanksgiving Day special
  • Ji-Young is a 7-year-old Korean-American who loves skateboarding and playing electric guitar
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Ernie, a muppet from the popular children’s series “Sesame Street” appears with new character Ji-Young, the first Asian American muppet, on the set of the long-running children’s program. Photo: AP

For the first time in its 52-year run, Sesame Street is welcoming an Asian-American muppet.

Meet Ji-Young: A 7-year-old Korean-American who will make her Sesame Street debut on Thanksgiving. Some would say that Ji-Young was destined for Sesame Street: her name actually means “sesame.”

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“So, in Korean traditionally the two syllables they each mean something different and Ji means, like, smart or wise. And Young means, like, brave or courageous and strong,” the newest muppet explained in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “But we were looking it up and guess what? Ji also means sesame.”

The 7-year-old loves skateboarding and playing the electric guitar.

Ji-Young will make her first appearance in See Us Coming Together: A Sesame Street Special, a star-studded event that will hit screens on HBO Max on November 25, Thanksgiving Day.

Kay Wilson Stallings, an executive vice-president at Sesame Workshop, told the Associated Press that Ji-Young was added to the cast after producers reflected on the rise in hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans and decided how to “meet the moment.”

Eight-year-old Tamir, a Black muppet, was also added to the cast to talk about racism.

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