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President Barack Obama and American Ballet Theater prima ballerina Misty Copeland sat down with Time reporter Maya Rhodan at the White House on February 29, 2016. No stone was left un-turned as the pair candidly tackled controversial social issues facing the African-American community, personal experiences with racism, positive body image beliefs, and popular activism campaigns such as #BlackGirlMagic.
Rhodan artfully addressed questions racing through many minds nowadays, especially the sensitive topic of race relations as it pertains to careers that are predominantly run by those of Caucasian descent. Tackling the issue first-hand, Misty Copeland, as the American Ballet Theater’s first ever African-American female principal dancer, weighs in on the race topic but swiftly turned the negative into a positive.
“I think that being African-American has definitely been a huge obstacle for me,” Copeland said. “But it’s also allowed me to have this fire inside of me that I don’t know I would have or have had if I weren’t in this field.”
With moments of light-heartedness, humor, and genuine sincerity, the interview questioned other issues of social importance, such as self-worth, body image, and its effect on young women today. While being the President of the United States is a prestigious title in and of itself, being a father to two beautiful African-American young women holds even more value to President Obama. Commenting on the continuous debate of acceptable body image he responded,
“…when you’re a Dad of two daughters, you notice more…the enormous pressure that young women are placed under in terms of looking a certain way…and that pressure I think it historically has always been harder on African-American women than just about any other woman. [However]…the fact that (my daughters) have a tall, gorgeous Mom who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think it’s helpful.”
Although many subjects were of a serious nature, the interview served moreso to be uplifting and inspiring in terms of women’s empowerment — once again circling back to the importance and monumental impact of the #BlackGirlMagic campaign. A campaign that Inspire N Style supports and one that has spearheaded other movements of social activism.
“…to have movements like ‘Black Girl Magic’, I think it couldn’t be more positive for a young Black girl to see that it’s okay to be yourself; it’s okay to not have to transform and look like what you may see on the cover of a lot of magazines,” Misty Copeland adds. “That you are beautiful, that it’s possible to succeed in any field that you want to, looking the way that you do. With your hair the way that it is.”