Exploring the impact of social activism and its movements, President Barack Obama and American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland shared their thoughts on the topics in the first of a three-part video series by Time and Essence. For Copeland, #BlacGirlMagic is a welcome positive force for young black girls, who may experience criticism for the way they look.
“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,” Copeland told Time reporter Maya Rhodan.
Created by CaShawn Thompson two years ago to celebrate the beauty and power of Black women, Essence notes that #BlackGirlMagic has risen above being a hashtag to emerge has a rallying cry for black women who want to be seen and heard. The movement is one of many that have surfaced amid the current anti-black rhetoric that’s invaded American society since the Black Lives Matter movement launched in 2012.
In Obama’s eyes, the effect and accessibility of social media is “hugely important” as it provides a way for black activists to spread the word about various issues as well as create representation and ultimately bring about change.
“Social media is obviously the way in which young people are receiving information generally, so the power of young activists to help shape culture and politics through things like Black Lives Matter, I think, is hugely important,” Obama acknowledged to Rhodan. “When I think about the journey I’ve traveled, there’s no doubt that young African American, Latino, Asian, LGBT youth, they have more role models, they have more folks that they can immediately identify with and that in and of it’s self is of value.”