The Disney Junior show Doc McStuffins aired on March 23, 2012, making history as the first-ever animated series for preschoolers to feature a Black female lead.
The show was groundbreaking for that reason, but also because of the difference it made in the lives of young Black girls who were able to see themselves in Dottie “Doc” McStuffins, the show’s main character. Centering on a young Black girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom, Doc performs check-ups on her toys and stuffed animals.
Actress Kiara Muhammad voiced the character for the first two of its five total seasons. At the time of the show’s final episode in 2020, the young actress commemorated the event by sharing a 2012 press photo and penning a note about the show’s “immense impact.”
“Thank you to all the parents who had to endure the reruns on Disney Junior to satisfy their kids and to all the people who have reached out to me over the years explaining the importance of having a girl like Doc on their screens,” Muhammad said.
The many different accounts of “real-life Doc McStuffins” speak directly to the impact on both young and adult Black women. Dr. Bernice Fokum, M.D., an emergency medicine resident physician and policy school graduate at Harvard Kennedy School, tweeted a heartwarming anecdote about one of her patients, a young Black girl, who wiped away her tears after learning of Fokum’s resemblance to the Disney character.
“It’s extremely important to have people who can represent the experiences of the people they’re serving,” Fokum said in an interview with Romper.
To honor the milestone, Disney will continue to stream episodes throughout the month and plans to unveil a 10th anniversary Doc McStuffins doll.
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