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Black In Ballet: Young Stars Talk About Racism and Success

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This month, Pointe Magazine celebrated three young black ballet stars Misty Copeland, Ashley Murphy, and Ebony Williams. On the cover of the magazine the young women strike a pose, displaying their long gorgeous legs. Propped on their toes, the ladies smile with confidence with a headline that reads “Beyond Role Models.” But life wasn’t always picture perfect for these three women.

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In the magazine, the ladies share their perspective of working professionally in a Caucasian dominated industry. The tone of the article gives the reader the sense that the road to success wasn’t easy, especially when racism was front and center.

Murphy says she used to constantly question the theory,“Why it can never just be, Oh she is a beautiful dancer. It has to be, she’s a beautiful black dancer.”  Murphy discovered her talent while engaging in extracurricular activities. She hadn’t considered dance as an actual career until she started to be recognized for her form posture and grace.

 

For Ebony Williams her raw talent afforded her the opportunity to attend a top ballet school in Boston on full scholarship. But eventually, she quit due to extreme racism. She says she endured horrible treatment from fellow peers and their parents. One woman even told Williams that she was paying for her to attend and she didn’t deserve what she was getting.

However, Copeland was extremely fortunate very early in her career. Though she dealt with the same racial struggles that the other girls experienced, she was lucky to meet a mentor that helped her rise above and focus.

It is great to see black women following their dreams even in the face of adversity. These women stepped outside the box and have become a new type of role model showing our youth that we are more than rappers, reality stars and basketball players.

Check out the June/July issue of Pointe Magazine to read the entire article.

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