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Unbelievable strength mixed with incomparable grace and beauty, with a dash of determination, equals the Black girl magic of ballerina Misty Copeland.

When Copeland came to fame as the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer at the historic American Ballet Theater Company, we all had a new superhero icon — and she wore not a cape, but tights and ballet slippers.

Photographer Gregg Delman captured the essence of Copeland’s physical power in his new photography book by her namesake. In every photo, you can see the 34-year-old has mastered control of every inch of her body.

“Copeland has singlehandedly infused diversity and personality into the insular world of ballet, creating an audience for ballet in popular culture and changing the way that the contemporary world sees this classic dance form,” a description of the book reads. Copeland shattered the color barrier in ballet, becoming both an inspiration and icon.”

What’s striking about this photo series is she seems to capture the duality of being a Black woman. We are strong and sexy and poised and graceful and ferocious. And this imagery will live on through Delman’s book on coffee tables throughout the world.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Instagram


Misty Copeland Photography Book Captures The Strength And Grace Of Black Womanhood  was originally published on