White Audiences Spread Myths About This 19th Century Acrobat

miss lala at cirque
Briona Lamback
May 12, 2022

Suspended upside down, she soared above the circus audience, hanging on to the rope with just her TEETH! Miss La La was the best “aerialist” performing in Europe, but whites couldn't figure her out.

So they made up lies about who they THOUGHT she was.

Known as the “Black Venus” in Paris and an “African Queen” in London, Miss La La had walked wire ropes and performed incredible balancing acts since childhood. But whites just couldn't wrap their head around this one thing about her.

Her Blackness! Whites spread lies about Miss La La being an African princess who’d been enslaved, lost her throne, and was sold in allegiance to Queen Victoria. One critic claimed that her uncommon strength was specifically because of her African heritage.

These myths made whites feel more comfortable because they diminished the undeniable talent of a Black woman.

Today, Black people still experience the “imposter syndrome” myth in our careers when we’re made to believe we’re less than because of our Blackness. This one way white supremacy works to make us question our worth.

Whites try to dismiss our Blackness because they don't believe in our greatness – but we've always known the truth! Like Miss La La, we have to do what we must to nourish our talents and keep a positive self-image, despite their lies!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: