Misty Copeland became a cultural icon as the first African American prima ballerina. Seeing a Black ballerina in a national spotlight inspired young Black girls all over the world to sign up for ballet classes and it empowered ballet students giving them a visual of what they wanted to achieve. While much of the media hype around Copeland has been positive there are some that aren’t happy to see major productions like Swan Lake starring a black woman in a principal role.
After a recent production of Swan Lake, one of Copeland’s haters hooped on Instagram to explain why Copeland should never have been appointed to such an integral role. Instead of blocking the negative post, Copeland reposted the negative quote on her personal Instagram account and gave her rebuttal.
Copeland’s retort was both humble and classy as she gave her perspective on the art of ballet:
“I’m happy to share this because I will forever be a work in progress and will never stop learning. I learn from seeing myself on film and rarely get to. So thank you. I will always reiterate that I am by no means the best in ballet. I understand my position and what I represent. I know that I’m in a very unique position and have been given a rare platform. All I’ve ever wanted to do is bring ballet to more people and to help diversify it. I’ve worked extremely hard to be where I am and I believe that what I bring to the table is authentic artistry with a unique point of view through my life experiences and my unusual path and upbringing. Also as a black woman and black ballerina, I would love to see all of the incredible black dancers get the opportunities that I have.”
Kudos to Copeland for taking her hater’s negativity and using it as a platform to inform and educate others and to acknowledge the fact that until she was appointed to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, African Americans in major ballet productions were unheard of. We support you Misty and will continue to cheer you on!