‘Make A Pointe’ With Misty Copeland: Petition For More Pointe Shoe Emoji Skin Tones

Veteran ballerina Misty Copeland wants the community to help her #MakeAPointe.

Copeland launched a petition on Sept. 21 to encourage Apple and the Unicode Consortium to expand its skin tone options for the pointe shoe emoji. NBC News reports the campaign kicked off on Thursday and had garnered over 7,000 signatures by Friday.

“This petition isn’t just about an emoji. It’s about ensuring the art of ballet, in all its forms, celebrates every dancer’s story and shade,” Copeland said.

“My journey in ballet has been filled with moments of triumph and challenge,” Copeland wrote on the official campaign page. “One of those challenges was the ubiquitous ‘European Pink’ pointe shoe, a shade that didn’t reflect my skin tone. Time and time again, I found myself coloring my pointe shoes, striving for a match closer to my own shade. It was a constant reminder of the subtle ways dancers of color have not been included.”

Copeland’s campaign acknowledges the diversity efforts companies have made toward changing the industry standard of the “nude” ballet shoe, a norm that led many dancers of color to master the “pancaking” technique. Dancers match their “true” skin tones by putting their own makeup shade on top of the pink-peach-colored shoes.


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A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe)

Copeland, who made history in 2015 after becoming the American Ballet Theatre’s first Black female principal dancer, has been a vehicle for change throughout her career. In a 2022 interview with NPR, Copeland opened up about her struggle to make her melanated skin look like the other dancers’, even being told to paint her skin white.

Widening the color spectrum for Apple’s pointe shoe emoji is Copeland’s next step toward ensuring “a world where ballet, both on the stage and in digital spaces, reflects all of us.” To date, the petition has collected over 19,000 signatures.

Copeland is encouraging campaign supporters to create content and make their own statements on social media regarding the matter.

“This is an important show of inclusivity and welcomeness, and I want to encourage Apple to join by creating the many tones of the pointe shoe emoji,” she said.

She followed up her call to action on Instagram with a video on the brief history of the pointe shoe.


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A post shared by Misty Copeland (@mistyonpointe)



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