Entertainment

A Petition Is Going Around Highlighting Racism in The Ballet World

Like so many corners of the globe, the Ballet world has long poured over and favored the concept of whiteness.

The “ballet blanc” is a perfect example of that. Ballet blanc or “white ballet” is a scene in a ballet performance where the performers all wear white dresses or tutus. Deeply tied to its performance is a school of thought that suggests there shouldn’t be any black dancers in the corps de ballet because the identical nature of the performers is key to the performance.

If you ever took a ballet class yourself, you also know that racism exists in ballet thanks to your first-hand experiences with the tights and shoes you bought for your classes. Most likely you noticed that the “nude” color tights and slippers you were required to wear only came in colors called “European pink.” The issue has brought about a long and laborious process Black ballerinas are subjected to endure called “pancaking.” To make the pink and peach-colored ballet shoes match their skin tones, Black dancers beat their shoes with makeup so that they match their skin tones.

In light of the current fight against ongoing racial injustices, thousands are signing petitions calling on ballet shoes makers to add darker color options to their line of shoes.

To promote the petitions, Briana Bell, a Twitter user and an 18-year-old black dancer from Dallas, explained that ballet shoes are just one of several ways that dancers of color are made to feel as if they do not belong in the world of ballet. “Black ballerinas have constantly been pushed out of the typically and traditionally white ballet world because our bodies aren’t like theirs and this is just another way to make us feel unwanted!” went onto explain in a series of tweets

In an interview with Daily Mail.com Bell explained that “Racial discrimination within the dance world is passive in my experience, but very much still there. Little things like not being able to find your skin tone in leotards, tights, and shoes may seem insignificant, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have to wear tights/leotards/shoes that do not blend with your skin and your white counterpart’s dance attire matches them perfectly. Recently, of course, efforts have been made in the way of leotards and tights but pointe shoes have fallen behind.”

Bell also highlighted the lack of support and awareness of non-POC dancers is what has continued such microaggressions.

“I’ve come to learn from the comments of my post that simple things like this never crossed the minds of many non-POC, because this seems very basic and not like a luxury to them,” she went onto explain in her interview. “But to us it’s a luxury that hasn’t been afforded yet. And while I do understand that there are some businesses that sell various shades of brown pointe shoes online, finding a pointe shoe for you isn’t so easy that you can do it online. We need to go into the shop, get our feet measured, and find the exact shoe for you because there are so many different shapes. If done incorrectly, you can injure yourself.”

Here’s hoping Belle’s petition sparks a change amongst big ballet brands like Capezio and Block.

“These big brands like Capezio and Bloch are more accessible for us because they have shops locally we can walk into,” Belle underlined. “So at this point, it’s either you sacrifice comfort and safety for the color, or you suck it up and paint your shoes after you get them.”

Transcripts Of George Floyd’s Death Find He Told Cops He Couldn’t Breathe More Than 20 Times: “Tell my kids I love them”

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Transcripts Of George Floyd’s Death Find He Told Cops He Couldn’t Breathe More Than 20 Times: “Tell my kids I love them”

Stephen Maturen / Getty

Over a month has passed since the death of George Floyd and while the aftermath of it seemed to spark a reaction that rattled those of us left behind to our cores, outrage over his death has slowed down. Likely you’re hearing less calls to end police brutality, seeing fewer signs that Black Lives Matter and most of your friends’ Instagram pages have likely returned to their usual blissfully ignorant states. Still, the fight for justice for George Floyd carries on and newly released transcripts of body camera footage show that Floyd had pled for his life and told officers at least 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before his death.

New transcripts from body camera footage of Floyd’s death have been filed in court.

Floyd (a truck driver, security guard, and father of five) told Minneapolis police officers over 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before he died. “I’m scared as fuck, man,” Floyd told the officers while they restrained them. “Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”

Transcripts of body camera footage show that Floyd told officers at least 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before passing out and dying.

“I can’t breathe for nothing, man,” Floyd told officers. “This is cold-blooded, man.” Ignoring Floyd’s cry for help, officer Derek Chauvin continued to pin Floyd down with his knee on his neck.

In the transcript, Chauvin can be heard saying to Floyd “Then stop talking. Stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Floyd continued. “I’ll probably just die this way.”

The transcripts were filed by former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane in a move to have charges against him dropped.

Lane is one of four former police officers to be charged in Floyd’s death. Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao are also being charged. Lane, Kueng, and Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s death. Meanwhile, Chauvin faces second-degree murder charges.

According to BuzzFeed, “In the motion looking to have charges against Lane dropped, attorneys argue he was a new officer on the force and following the cues from Chauvin.” At the time of Floyd’s death, Chauvin was not Lane’s field training officer. He had however been one in Lane’s precinct and had provided the Chauvin with instructions on how to deal with calls. Attorneys have pointed out that in the transcripts Lane called paramedics to the scene and asked if they should roll Floyd on his side while he was holding onto his legs.

In the transcript, Chauvin says “No, he’s staying put where we got him.”

According to transcripts, after Chauvin passed out bystanders pointed out Floyd was unresponsive. Still, Chauvin pinned him to the ground.

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

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St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

Michael B. Thomas / Getty

In another display of a peaceful protests, activists returned the site of a St. Louis mansion owned by the white couple who drew out their guns during a calm demonstration last month. On Friday, chanting protesters returned to the home of Patricia and Mark McClosky, stopping just outside of their gate to protest for nearly 15 minutes.

During the peaceful protest over a dozen men in plain clothes walked the area inside of the gate.

According to Time Magazine, “One protester briefly straddled an iron gate as if he was going to jump over, but did not. No one threw anything and no one behind the gates showed aggression. One man on the McCloskeys’ balcony clapped along with the chanting protesters.” The crowd of protesters included a racially diverse crowd carrying signs calling to “Defund the Police” and underlining that “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Chants included calls like “when Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

According to reports, it is unknown if the McCloskeys were home. Soon after, the protestors left and marched to Interstate 64. Police had closed off the roads to traffic in both directions to allow protestors to march onto the highway. There the protestors sat on the highway for several minutes to honor the life of George Floyd who died on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for over eight minutes.

The recent rally was organized by the group Expect Us and is among various demonstrations in St. Louis that have taken place in the weeks since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The McCloskeys first came to national attention in mid-June after they had been spotted aiming guns at protesters outside their home in St. Louis. Soon after the images of them began circulating Twitter dubbed them “Ken and Karen” and the stars of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” remake no one asked for. The incident occurred as protesters marched their way towards the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson who declared in a Facebook post that she would not support rising calls to defund the police. She also reportedly shared activists’ full names and addresses while reading off suggestions on how to better spend the city’s funds. After users ridiculed her online, Krewson apologized for her actions saying “Never did I intend to harm anyone or cause distress,” Krewson tweeted. “The update is removed and again, I apologize.”