2015 and finally a ballerina with melanin gets recognized by the ABT. Congratulations Misty! The American Ballet Theatre has promoted Misty Copeland to principal ballerina, making her the first black female principal ballerina in the company’s 75-year history. http://time.com/3941742/misty-copeland-black-principal-dancer/ Misty, however, is not the first AA to join a world class ballet company. Copeland herself has consistently credited the groundbreaking accomplishments of her mentor Raven Wilkinson, the first African-American woman to dance with the Ballet Russe, who in 1955 had been inspired by Janet Collins, the first African-American to dance with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Prior to Collins joining the Met, she had been accepted into the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, but declined the invitation as she was asked to paint herself white to appear on stage.