In the first of a three-part video series by TIME and ESSENCE, TIME reporter Maya Rhodan sat down with President Obama and principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland at the White House. 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.
You’ve got to watch this heartfelt video below and be sure to visit ESSENCE to read the full article.
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.”