ESSENCE has revealed an exclusive video conversation between President Barack Obama and American Ballet Theater prima ballerina Misty Copeland. Each speak candidly about their personal experiences with racism, opinions on the importance of activism and social movements like ‘Black Girl Magic’, as well as their aspirations for young men and women of color in the future. (The conversation, moderated by TIME reporter Maya Rhodan, took place on February 29, 2016 at The White House.
To watch the video, click here.
President Obama on Young Women & Body Image:
· “…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 always been harder on African-American women than just about any other women.”
· “And the fact that (my daughters) have a tall, gorgeous Mom who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think it’s helpful.”
Misty Copeland on race and career:
• “I think that being African-American has definitely been a huge obstacle for me. But it’s also allowed me to have this fire inside me that I don’t know if I would have or have had if I weren’t in this field.”
Misty Copeland on social activism and ‘Black Girl Magic’:
· “…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. 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 it is.”