Image - Misty Copeland
Past Event

Misty Copeland: What I've Learned from My Mentor Raven Wilkinson

In 2015, Misty Copeland made history and changed the dance world forever when she became the first African-American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. But as she will tell you, achievements like this never happen in a void. Behind her and supporting her rise was her mentor, Raven Wilkinson.

A trailblazer in the world of ballet, Wilkinson fought to be taken seriously as a Black ballerina in the 1950s and '60s. During this time Wilkinson faced overt and casual racism, hostile crowds, and death threats for having the audacity to dance ballet.

Copeland honors the unheralded contributions made by women like Wilkinson who helped pave the way so she could pursue her dream career.

She will also share more about her own journey, struggles with racism and exclusion, and intergenerational friendship and mentorship with Wilkinson.


This program is generously supported by the Applied Materials Foundation.  

Applied Materials Foundation

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Copeland photo by MasterClass.

November 16, 2022

The Commonwealth Club of California
United States

Image - Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre; Author, The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor, Raven Wilkinson; Twitter @mistyonpointe

Image - Mina Kim

In conversation with Mina Kim

Host, “Forum” on KQED; Twitter @mkimreporter