A video released by the Dance Theatre of Harlem is on a mission to show the importance of representing black women in the arts, and it’s everything we need to inspire us to achieve our goals today
Whether it’s a woman in the White House, an actor from an ethnic minority playing the lead role in an action film, a transgender activist speaking in a panel discussion or a couple discussing gay rights on the news, representation of all races, genders, sexes, sexualities and body types in the media and daily life is extremely important.
Without equal representation, there are stories we are missing, discussions we are omitting and a failure to mirror the world’s rich, diverse and complex identity.
That’s why the Dance Theatre of Harlem has decided to collaborate with Grammy Award winner, India Arie, to create a four-minute, life-affirming video about black ballerinas to help inspire young children and artists to achieve their dreams.
In the short film titled, ‘High Above’, the video sees a young black girl who aspires to become a ballerina and attend the prestigious dance school in Harlem, while India Arie’s syrupy-soulful voice accompanies the clip.
In the beginning of the feature, the girl is seen attending her grandmother’s funeral and later watches her mother throw away tickets to the ballet – a present she’d presumably bought for her grandmother.
However, the young girl salvages the tickets from the bin and decides to go to the ballet on her own where she watches in awe at black ballerinas taking to the stage.
Later, she meets one of the dancers backstage who gives her a pair of ballet shoes, which she practices in when she gets home, fired up to one day become a ballerina like her idol.
At the end of the clip, the message ‘Experience the power of art’ is displayed across the screen, reminding viewers that the power of art – be it music or dance – stretches beyond the medium, rather it can inspire, represent society and show that everyone has the possibility to fulfill their goals.
With ballerinas such as Misty Copeland – the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre – and Sierra Leone-born Michaela De Prince – the only ballerina of African origin in the Dutch National Ballet – it’s about time young girls and boys see similar-looking artists being represented in the arts’ most respected positions and in every aspect of society.
Remember, we cannot be what we cannot see.
Watch the video below:
This article originally appeared on www.elleuk.com