Michaela DePrince

Birth Name: Mabinty Bangura

Place of Birth: Kenema, Sierra Leone

Date of Birth: 6 January, 1995

Ethnicity: Sierra Leonean [Mende]

Michaela DePrince is a Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer. She has appeared in the documentary First Position (2011) and Beyoncé’s film Lemonade. She is with the Boston Ballet, and has been part of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Dutch National Ballet.

Michaela was born in Kenema, Sierra Leone, into a Muslim family of the Mende tribe. Her biological parents died during the Sierra Leone Civil War of the 1990s. At the age of four she was adopted by an American couple, Elaine and Charles DePrince, in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The couple has eleven children, nine of them adopted.

While the DePrince family is described as Jewish on various websites (apparently originating from this statement), both Charles DePrince and Elaine DePrince were/are from Italian-American families. Michaela is also described as a convert to Judaism, a claim for which there appears to be no evidence.

Charles DePrince was the son of Albert E. DePrince and Margaret Catherine DiMuro.

Elaine DePrince is the daughter of Anthony Joseph DiGiacomo and Yolanda Anna Bonitatibus.

She has stated:

The lack of black ballerinas in America is a problem, and I believe that it did hinder me when I auditioned for companies in the United States and Canada. It affected me so seriously that I began to believe that I lacked talent.

Sources: https://www.readbrightly.com

Obituary of Michaela’s adoptive father – https://georgiacremation.com

Obituary of Michaela’s adoptive paternal grandmother, Margaret DePrince – https://www.legacy.com

Obituary of Michaela’s adoptive maternal grandfather, Anthony Joseph DiGiacomo – https://www.findagrave.com

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