Has anyone not weighed in on Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade? Is it an ode to adultery? African-American women? Feminism? A boost for husband Jay Z’s Tidal? Perhaps all of the above (and more). There are a lot of celebrity cameos in the hour-long film that accompanied the release of the album. One of them is Michaela DePrince, a ballerina with the Dutch National Ballet who gave a TEDxAmsterdam talk in 2014.
Born Mabinty Bangura in Sierra Leone, DePrince lost her parents at an early age (her father was killed by rebels during the civil war in Sierra Leone; her mother starved to death), suffered undernourishment in an orphanage, witnessed brutal killings first-hand and was herself violently attacked. Eventually, she was adopted by a family who not only gave her a home, but also helped her to realize her dream of one day becoming a ballerina. Her life story, she states early in the talk, is not a fairy tale but rather a story of hope; that we should never be afraid of feeling love.
Watch DePrince’s talk in its entirely below: