Recently I watched A Ballerina’s Tale, a documentary telling the story of Misty Copeland’s life and journey to becoming the first black principal ballerina in the American Ballet Theatre and it was then that it was confirmed for me, something that I have always known intuitively, but am coming to know more as I grow and experience life in my brown frame; the sisterhood can not only give you life, but it can save your life.
Misty described a period of her life as a young girl when she had moved to New York, away from her family, spending most of her time between school and ballet rehearsals. As she was the only black dancer in her company at that time, she felt estranged from a space that she identified as home. She was distracted and as a result, her ballet instructors noticed and called upon board member of the ABT, Susan Fales Hill, to yield to Misty and mentor her, provide care for her as a woman of color for another woman of color. But Mrs. Fales Hill did better than that. She called upon other black women that she knew had travailed and broken through, becoming the first black women in their fields to achieve their brand of greatness. In this space, Misty found her wings again. She remembered who she was and saw that her purpose as a dancer in that time, in that space, was about so much more than herself. The sisterhood that Susan Fales Hill curated for Misty Copeland’s benefit saved her life. It gave her purpose and it facilitated her ability to care for herself so that she could be well and move forward in her calling.
What we hope you will see as you read and reflect on the stories we have gathered, is that black women are invested in caring for one another. And when black women take care of one another, it’s as if we are using our very arms, legs and backs to uphold the infrastructure of every functioning system where Black women are present. That is how sisterhood becomes activism; determined and persistent, we take up our places in each others lives, ready to do whatever it takes so that we can live, be well, and stay alive in a world that can be so harsh and hostile.
It is profound.
It is undeniable.
It is true.
It is effective.
It is the sisterhood.
You can still join us. The deadline is fast approaching. We’d love to hear your story about sisterhood and how it has played out in your life.
Photo Credit: A Ballerina’s Tale, directed by Nelson George