If you’ve seen even a single episode of “black-ish,” you know that Marsai Martin is likely to steal any scene in which she’s featured. You can just look at her and tell that this child actress is on the path to have a very long and lucrative career in this business.
And it starts now.
Earlier this year, we reported that American Girl was releasing a new doll named Melody Ellison. Melody’s character is that of a Black girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan during the Civil Rights Movement. According to a recent article on Deadline, Marsai is set to take on the role of Melody in Amazon’s live-action special, Melody, 1963: Love Has to Win, an American Girl Story.
The movie is expected to be released on Amazon Prime video this fall.
The project is executive produced by Common and written and produced by Alison McDonald, who most recently worked on the critically acclaimed Roots reboot. Veteran actor Frankie Faison, who’s been in everything from “The Wire” to “The Good Wife” and currently stars in “Luke Cage,” will play Melody’s grandfather. And Idara Victor, who plays Nina Holiday in “Rizzoli & Isles,” will play Melody’s mother.
The story centers around a 10-year-old Black girl whose eyes have just been opened to the racial inequality in America, particularly after the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing. In response to her new awareness, Melody questions the Pledge of Allegiance at school, challenging her teacher on the validity of its promise in light of such a tragedy. After a journey of self reflection and words of wisdom from her mother, Melody is reminded that she needs to stand up for what’s right even when it’s hard or scary.
The film will be an adaptation of stories written by Denise Lewis Patrick and is part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar production deal between Amazon and Mattel, a subsidiary of American Girl. As a part of the deal, Amazon will produce four-live actions specials based on American Girl’s line of dolls and books.
Melody is directed by Tina Mabry, the woman behind Mississippi Damned and “Queen Sugar.”
It’s so refreshing to see so many Black names and faces associated with this project, both in front of and behind the camera. We can’t wait to watch this!