Shine My Crown Read by Alexa
Misty Copeland was one of the guest speakers at this year’s Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit– and the groundbreaking ballerina used the platform to address blackface in ballet.
“I don’t think I can ever go back to Russia,” said Copeland at the conference.
In December, Copeland called out the Bolshoi Theatre for its use of blackface in performances. The theatre announced that they had no plans to cease the decision.
Vladimir Urin, the director of the theatre, told state-run RIA Novosti that the theater “will not be included in such a discussion” and reiterated that the ballet had been performed in the same way for many years, per CNN.
Copeland made history when she became American Ballet Theatre’s first female African-American principal dancer.
Listen to what she had to say at the conference below.
“I’m tired of giving the oppressors the benefit of the doubt,” Copeland wrote on Instagram. “They need to be exposed, called out, educated and more. I have lived in the ballet world for 25 years. I have silenced myself around ‘them,’ and made them feel comfortable and suffered in silence. At 37 I feel ready and free to stop.”
“It is painful to think about the fact that many prominent ballet companies refuse to hire dancers of color and instead opt to use blackface,” Copeland then tweeted. “I get that this is a VERY sensitive subject in the ballet world. But until we can call people out and make people uncomfortable, change can’t happen.”