President Obama and Misty Copeland Sit Down for Some Real Talk About Race and Body Image for Essence Magazine

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Prepare for some inspiration-fueled squee. Here we have the black President of the United States and the black Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theater chatting like the coolest besties ever and being classy as hell.

President Barack Obama and ballet phenom Misty Copeland sat down for a multi-part conversation for Essence moderated by Time‘s Maya Rhodan in which they talked about everything from getting to the top of their respective fields to movements like Black Girl Magic and Black Lives Matter. They also get real about the body image issues that black women specifically have to navigate constantly. Obama is astounded, for example, by the fact that Copeland’s athletic body type is considered “too big” for ballet when, sitting next to her, he sees how petite she is.

He talks a lot about his daughters, how Copeland is a wonderful role model to them, and how much thought he and the First Lady put into making sure their daughters get the right messages. He says:

But it’s part and parcel of a broader way in which we socialize and press women to constantly doubt themselves or define themselves in terms of a certain appearance. And so Michelle and I are always guarding against that. And the fact that they’ve got a tall, gorgeous mom who has some curves, and that their father appreciates, I think is helpful.

Obama’s complete adoration of his wife is palpable and adorable, and I can’t even take it.

Anyway, you should definitely check out the full half-hour conversation below when you have a moment. It’s inspiring viewing for all of us – but I’m sure particularly for black men and women who get to see themselves in these amazing luminaries.

(via Fusion, image via screencap)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.