Following is the full transcript of ballet dancer Michaela DePrince’s TEDx Talk titled ‘From ‘devil’s child’ to star ballerina’ at TEDxAmsterdam 2014 conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: From ‘devil’s child’ to star ballerina by Michaela DePrince at TEDxAmsterdam 2014
My name is Michaela DePrince. When I first started to write my speech, I thought, maybe, I could give it a fairytale kind of twist. But only because most people tell me that my life is a fairytale. But I have to say I strongly disagree.
Yes, I got what I’ve always dreamed of, but I had to fight for it. I wasn’t always called Michaela DePrince. My original name is Mabinty Bangura, and I was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa in 1995, four years after the bloody civil war. This war would displace thousands of men, it would cause thousands of women and children to be raped, and over 50,000 people would be killed. My parents were among them.
I was born with vitiligo, a skin condition. It left white patches all over my body. I was different. In Sierra Leone, they didn’t understand the fact that just because I had white patches on my skin, that I was just born this way, they thought I was a curse. They started to call me “the devil’s child,” because anybody who would look like this would be the child of the devil.