Misty Copeland on Why She Doesn't Identify as Biracial: 'I Am Viewed as a Black Woman'

Misty Copeland on Why She Doesn't Identify as Biracial: 'I Am Viewed as a Black Woman'

The history-making ballerina on changing the game.

Published October 15, 2015

Misty Copeland and director Nelson George recently talked about their new documentary, A Ballerina's Tale, which chronicles Copeland's awe-inspiring rise to becoming the first Black principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. The film is not only a portrait of one of the most exciting artists of our generation, but a look at how difficult it still is for people of color to gain entry into some parts of American life.

Asked why it was important for him to tell Copeland's story, George's answer is simple: "Black artists aren't documented very well," he says.

Copeland, meanwhile, got real about the backlash she's experienced from her own people because of her skin color. "I've gotten some flack from the African-American community...[people] say 'you're not really Black,' or 'you don't really have dark skin,'" she says. "I'm fully aware that it's harder to succeed in ballet as a darker-skinned woman, but it has to start somewhere." She adds that the racial discrimination in ballet — and the rest of the world — doesn't differentiate between dark-skinned and light-skinned. "I know that I'm viewed as a Black woman in society," she says.

Watch our full interview with Copeland and George below, and see A Ballerina's Tale in select theaters and on VOD now.

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(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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