Part two of TIME and ESSENCE’s conversation with (moderated by TIME reporter Maya Rhodan) Misty Copeland and President Obama with a discussion of body image, race, and how people’s skin color affects the way people see them.
Like many, for Copeland—a dancer in an art from traditionally associated with Whiteness—a lot of what she’s experienced has been coded, subtle racism.
“A lot of what I’ve experienced has not always been to my face or its been very subtle, but it’s in a way that I know what’s going on and I feel it deep inside of me and being the only African-American in almost every environment in terms of classical ballet, it weighs on you and it wears on you after a while,” she said.
Things are a little different for Obama, who looks at body image and race, specifically when it comes to how women view themselves and others, through the lens of being a dad.
“…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.”
Despite being constantly bombarded with images that uphold the idea that Eurocentric features are the standard of beauty, black women have begun to celebrate their beauty, their skin and their features, and having strong women like Misty Copeland and Michelle Obama in such influential positions has certainly made a big difference.