Emmy Award winning host Carol Jenkins will feature an interview with Misty Copeland, the first African American Principal Dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre, on the BLACK AMERICA television series.  Copeland is a strong advocate for “little brown girls” in classical dance, a field where many roles were considered off limits to African American women.  She has openly shared her ambition and discipline to succeed with the world and has served as an inspiration for millions of people across the globe.

The interview will include video clips from the documentary A Ballerina’s Tale, directed by Nelson George, and covers Copeland’s childhood, her early fascination with gymnastics, her adoption by a mentor who believed in her abilities and encouraged her as a dancer, her recent meeting with President Obama, and her belief that “dancers are rock stars” who should be acknowledged and rewarded like sports figures and other celebrities in American society.

Earlier this year, Copeland was honored at the Variety Power of Women luncheon in New York City (alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Megyn Kelly, Julianne Moore and Vera Wang) for her work with Project Plié, an American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and Boys and Girls Club partnership initiative designed to increase racial and ethnic representation in American ballet.  Misty’s meteoric rise as the first African American principal dancer in American Ballet Theater history was heralded by Time magazine in 2015, labeling Misty Copeland as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

“I was discovered at a local Boys & Girls Club, on a basketball court.  I went from living in a motel to dancing at the Metropolitan Opera House.  Through my charity, Project Plié I am now working with Boys & Girls clubs across the country to help increase diversity in dance.”

“We are not just plucking (children) out of underprivileged communities, but surrounding them with teachers and executive staff who look like them and can relate to their experiences.  I am reminded by families and children that I meet every day that representation matters.  Being able to see yourself or someone who looks like you on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House matters.”  – Misty Copeland

[bctt tweet=”I am reminded by families and children that I meet every day that REPRESENTATION MATTERS. – Misty Copeland” username=”HBR_Media”]

This latest edition of BLACK AMERICA premieres in the New York metropolitan area on CUNY TV Wednesday, 5/11 at 7:30am, 1:30pm and 8pm; Saturday, 5/14 at 10:30 am and 6pm; Sunday, 5/15 at 11:30pm; and Tuesday, 5/17 at 11:30pm.

Beginning Wednesday 5/11 the program may be viewed anytime online.

BLACK AMERICA is hosted by Carol Jenkins, Emmy Award-winning New York City journalist and founding president of The Women’s Media Center.