BLACK VOICES
09/11/2014 01:23 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2014

Ballerina Misty Copeland On Racism: No, All Black Women Don't Have The Same Body

Misty Copeland knows criticism is part of being a ballerina, but she's sick of the criticism focusing on things she can't change.

In support of her new children's book, Firebird, Copeland got candid earlier this week during a conversation on HuffPost Live about how she deals with racism and body-shaming.

"As a dancer, when you're put in front of the spotlight and an audience, it is a subjective art form. Not everyone is going to like you," she said during the interview. "But it's hard when you're being judged for things you can't control, like the color of your skin, like the type of body that you have."

The ballet superstar said the idea that black women can't be graceful dancers -- or anything else -- because of their body shape simply doesn't ring true.

"Everyone has different body types. It's really, I think, ignorant to just kind of categorize someone and say all African Americans have this body, therefore you can't do this," she explained. "It's not true. You look at track runners, you look at models, you look at swimmers that are African American, and they don't have that body that they're saying only exists for African American women."

Copeland added that it's important to remember skin color doesn't dictate talent.

"You can be any color, you can morph your body into what it's capable of becoming, and it can be beautiful still and fit into that realm of what classical ballet should be," she said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Misty Copeland here.

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