After legendary ballerina Misty Copeland called out the Bolshoi Theatre for its use of blackface in performances, the theatre told Russian state-run media that it would continue the practice despite the criticism.
The debate started earlier this month, when Copeland -- known for being the American Ballet Theatre's first African-American principal dancer -- posted a photo of two young ballerinas with the Bolshoi Theatre, set to perform the classic ballet "La Bayadère," a tragic love story set in India.
The problem? The two dancers are posing in blackface.
"This is post going send people to a child's page," said another commenter. "Not only is she a child, she is a Russian child. People can be brutal online and a child shouldn't be subject to an onslaught of hostile comments. Sure, that makeup looks ridiculous, but....what is the percentage of Africans living in Russia and of that number, what percentage would be ballet dancers?"
Copeland wrote in reply, "We can't continue to make excuses for those who choose to not see what is in plain sight and that is the truth and reality of so many brown children being shot daily, and viewed as adults. I don't condone bullying but lessons need to be had."