Fans of Detroit’s American Girl Doll Melody Ellison will get to see her character come to life later this month when Amazon unveils its first original, live-action special about the fictional civil rights-era girl.
The special, titled “An American Girl Story — Melody 1963: Love Has to Win,” will be released Oct. 21 on Prime Video in the United States and United Kingdom, Amazon representatives said in a news release Monday. It is the first of four planned American Girl specials.
The story stars Marsai Martin of “Blackish” as Melody, a 10-year-old Detroiter who discovers the depths of racial inequality after learning about the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing, Amazon officials said.
“As a result, her belief in the ‘indivisible’ promise of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance comes into question as she challenges her teacher on the validity of this, given the horrific tragedy,” officials said. “After an emotional journey of self-reflection, her mother gives her the courage she needs by instilling in her that love brings out the best in everyone.”
Other stars include Frances Fisher (“Titanic”) as Miss Abbot, Frankie Faison (“The Wire”) as Melody’s grandfather Frank Ellison, and Idara Victor (“TURN: Washington’s Spies”) as Melody’s mother Frances Ellison, officials said.
The special will be brought to viewers by executive producer Alison McDonald (“Roots”), as well as director and producer Tina Mabry (“Mississippi Damned,” and “Queen Sugar”).
“The American Girl Melody special is an empowering and inspiring story that will quickly become a favorite for young girls, while bringing families together to help start a healthy dialogue,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. “Although our special is historical, the themes presented are sadly very timely and relevant for the world in which kids today are exposed.”
Melody was officially launched Aug. 20 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, where more than 300 girls joined American Girl officials to debut the doll.
The company’s president attended the event and announced a $175,000 donation to support children’s sections at the Detroit Public Library’s 22 branches, including a donation of Melody dolls and books valued at $125,000.
Melody is available at the American Girl store that opened in August at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi.
The story will be available Oct. 21 for Prime members using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV and mobile devices, or online. Prime members also will be able to download the series on mobile devices for offline viewing.
A list of devices compatible with Amazon Video is available online.