Janet Rollé will make history as the first Black woman CEO of the American Ballet Theatre.
The world of ballet is primarily white and has been criticized by dancers, including the first Black woman principal ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland. Rollé is also the first person of color ever appointed to her new role.
Her parents were Jamaican immigrants who settled in Mount Vernon, New York, where Rollé went to her first ballet class at the YMCA. She was eight years old.
The dancer received her BA in Dance from the State University of New York at Purchase. Rollé also received her MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and later became the General Manager at Parkwood Entertainment, Beyoncé’s media company.
Rollé is more than qualified for her new role. Rollé helped produce Beyoncé’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2018, and her documentary on Netflix, Homecoming, and her film Black Is King. She also served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for CNN and led departments at AOL, HBO and MTV.
She gave a statement published by The American Ballet Theatre.
“When my dear Mom, an immigrant from Jamaica, took me to my first dance class at the age of eight at the YMCA in Mount Vernon, New York, she set me on the path that would provide the foundation of my career. Through dance, I learned how to be a professional, the value of discipline and technique, and my love for the creative process,” said Rollé.
“These lessons have always been at the core of my professional life and work. It is therefore a singular privilege to be entrusted by the Board to preserve and extend the legacy of American Ballet Theatre, and to ensure its future prosperity, cultural impact, and relevance. To come full circle and be in a position to give back to the art that has given me so much is a source of unbridled and immense joy.”
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The American Ballet Theatre welcomed Rollé with a message on Instagram.
“Welcome to the family, Janet! 🥰🩰. We are so excited to announce that Janet Rollé has been appointed our new CEO and Executive Director, effective January 3, 2022. Rollé joins ABT from Parkwood Entertainment, having served as General Manager since 2016. She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at CNN Worldwide. Rollé was the first Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of BET Networks and has also served in senior positions at AOL, MTV Networks, and HBO.”
Rollé is also on the board of directors for Hallmark and BuzzFeed. She will begin her new appointment on Jan. 3, 2022.