Browse Tag

exercise

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Black Owned Athleisure Brands You Should Know

Despite a global pandemic and its devastating effects on the retail industry, the athleisure market is having a pretty good year. Athleisure is now becoming everyday wear.

In May of this year, a J.P. Morgan survey on stimulus spending found 24% of the survey population chose athletic apparel/athleisure wear as a top-three category on which they intended to spend their stimulus checks.

Whether you are buying sweats and biker shorts to lounge around in or for your at home workouts, be sure to check out these Black owned athleisure brands.

Black Owned Athleisure Brands

Lukafit 

Black Owned Athleisure Brands

Impano Sportswear

Black Owned Athleisure Brands

CultureFit  

Black Owned Athleisure Brands

TriPow3r

Y-Fit Wear 

Pru Apparel

Black Owned Athleisure Brands

Queen Malkia

Full Court 

Kemetic Knowledge  

Damihow

EleVen 

Dope Fit Chick

Sankofa Athletics

ICONI

Solely Fit

 

Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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Abby Dione: The First Black Woman To Own An Indoor Rock Climbing Gym

Abby Dione became the first Black woman in the US to own an indoor rock climbing gym when she purchasedCoral Cliffs Rock Climbing Center in 2011. Here’s why that matters.

Abby Dione, climbing the second pitch of Obstinada (5.11) in San German (Rosario), Puerto Rico.

Dione registers at a petite 5’3”. She has smooth brown skin and close cropped hair and her wiry frame and calm voice command attention. She’s an energizing presence at Coral Cliffs whether she’s coaching the Youth Coral Cliffs Climbing Team or interacting with regulars who frequent the gym. She also represents the changing face of climbing: a sport that is becoming more diverse and increasingly mainstream. Dione is busy creating experiences for young climbers both indoors and outdoors at the crag. She’s cultivating a passion for climbing and bridging the gap between climbing counterculture and new climbing communities.

Climbing is currently experiencing a tremendous surge in popularity across the United States. A 2017 New York Times article, A Boom in Rock Climbing, Minus the Rocks, talks about the challenge owners face of “selling a lifestyle.” Climbing gyms initially started out in garages as a place for outdoor rock climbers to get stronger. Decades later, the transition from very small spaces to mega gyms leaves local gym owners like Dione searching for a third way: how to share an experience and build a community while instilling the “ethics and spirit behind climbing.”

Dione laments that climbing basics like “the simple idea of having a mentor” have been abandoned as climbing gyms professionalize and add amenities to meet a new type of demand. In her view, new climbers need more than simple instruction on climbing gym equipment. They require coaching and mentorship as well as knowledge of climbing history to give them a sense of ownership of their sport. And of course they need to see friendly, familiar faces at the gym. Not everyone shares this approach. Dione’s concern is that if instruction stops at “clip in and hold the rope” instead of explaining that climbing is a series of friction systems, information is being omitted. [She] can see where someone may have an easier time walking into a gym. But how do they get better?”

Dione’s focus is on developing climbers who have the skills they need to safely enjoy the sport both indoors and outdoors. Along the way she’s challenging assumptions and stereotypes without dwelling on them. She reflects on the subtle ways that having to prove yourself as a woman climber continues; even after acquiring experience and sending challenging projects. Sometimes those moments were not so subtle for a Black woman climber: “I’ve been climbing long enough to remember when people would ask me if I was lost.”

Climbing is also experiencing a moment of broadening efforts to diversify the outdoors. They’re being led at the grassroots level by organizations like Brooklyn Boulder’s based Brothers of Climbing, Touchstone Climbing affiliated The Brown Ascenders and national organizations like Brown Girls Climb. There are also corporate efforts like the North Face’s Walls Are For Climbing campaign. In between grassroots and corporate, organizations like the Alpine Ascents affiliated Climbers of Color are focused on education and outdoor leadership for the next generation of mountaineering guides.

Credit: Melanin Base Camp

So where does Dione see herself as both a climbing gym owner and Woman of Color? Her answer is this: “creating opportunities for people to meet and experience how powerful climbing could be. And doing it in a safe and fun environment.” Last October 2017 that meant coaching an introductory bouldering class at the first ever diversity in climbing festival, Color the Crag. She described it as “a cool opportunity to instruct and mentor. I know a lot about climbing. I’m still learning but I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity and gift to teach and share it with people.” Dione’s approach is to produce safe, confident climbers who have an appreciation for the sport and its counterculture roots. And who have the option to climb outside or indoors, whatever they decide.

Credit: Melanin Base Camp

In twelve years of climbing her entire approach to the sport has changed a lot. As a newcomer she was more focused on “ego driven projects” and peak bagging which she described as “anxiety inducing.” There was a lot of pressure to “send,” a climber’s term for successfully completing a named climbing route. Her focus isn’t on climbing projects—not anymore. Right now she’s interested in “increasing overall strength and power, finger strength, and flexibility. Climbing is either pushing, pulling or hanging, and I’m more interested in doing incremental growth in each one of these areas.”

That makes a lot of sense for a climbing gym owner and climbing coach. Dione trains everything from finger strength to core strength to maximum pull and push before jumping on something at her limit to see how it feels. Instead of training goals and upcoming climbs she talks about “trying to hack my climbing growth with curiosity and playfulness.”

Dione frames her thoughts on climbing in the context of twelve years of lessons learned. It’s great advice for anyone who’s enjoyed a sport or outdoor activity for so long that it starts to lose its luster. How do you get the edge back? Dione had this to share: “When you start doing something long enough you arrive at a certain physical aptitude for recreational activity where you realize that your mind is where you get the most growth. Your mind is the limiting factor.” So that’s one area where she chooses to focus her efforts.

So if climbing isn’t about getting really strong and sending challenging projects, what is it about? Dione believes the sport has a lot to offer; especially for young people. Her “hope is that they don’t limit themselves by chasing numbers or by looking around to see who is doing what?” So what’s the secret to keeping kids excited about the sport? For Dione, it’s a mixture of passion and humility as well as not doing too much too fast. Climbing grades are super subjective; what you climb in the gym is great but outside is different and “the sooner people realize that stuff doesn’t matter, the better.”

Coral Cliffs is located at 3400 Southwest 26th Terrace, A4, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33312. Visit them on Facebook or Instagram to learn more.

 

Source: Melanin Base Camp

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GrpFit is using Technology to Promote Health and Fitness in the Black Community

GrpFit is a fitness app created to address health issues in the Black community.

Since we’re all about health and wellness, we decided to find out more about the company. We spoke to co-founder Rich Bailey and this is what he had to say.

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Grpfit co-founders: Chris Ketant and Rich Bailey

What inspired you to create Grpfit?

It’s no secret that certain health issues such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension are more prevalent in the Black community. But, some of the statistics are baffling. According to studies, 76% of our community is either overweight or obese and 43% of us have hypertension.

And then, when it comes to causes of deaths, heart disease and stroke are #1 and #3, respectively. A lot of these health issues can be alleviated by living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because of that, we decided to create GrpFit with the mission of making the Black community a more fit and healthier one.

The Black community has many health issues that need to be addressed. How does GrpFit provide a solution? 

GrpFit is a safe and encouraging platform for people of all fitness levels to share their fitness journeys, learn and motivate each other. Users of the app can share photos and videos, get sample workouts and read health and fitness related articles.

Our most powerful aspect of GrpFit is the ability to connect with other people who you can relate too. An underrated part of any fitness journey is the accountability and motivation you receive when you have a great support system and community behind you. We are providing a platform for people seek those type of connections.

We also have a ton of other features and services that are currently being developed and will be released in the near future. Stay tuned!

What has been the most gratifying and the most challenging thing you’ve experienced as an entrepreneur thus far?

The most gratifying thing is the opportunity to serve as an inspiration to others. Becoming an entrepreneur/tech startup founder is no easy feat, so showing other people that it can be done is so fulfilling.

The most challenging thing I’ve experienced is being able balancing the pressure to succeed with taking your time to figure out what’s right for your company and brand. The pressure to succeed can often lead to making quick decisions that aren’t fully thought through. Every decision you will make should tie back to your vision/brand and what’s best for your users.

Tell us about your 21 day fitness challenge.

The 21-Day Challenge was something we did back in January and February of this year with 21Ninety and Gym Hooky. Its purpose was to provide women the tools and resources to create lifestyle changing habits as it relates to health and fitness.

We provided the members with community support, weekly Q&A sessions, daily challenges and guides that helped them create goals, choose better foods and pick and perform exercises.

Where do you see the company in 5 years?

In 5 years, GrpFit will be the one-stop-shop for everything related to Black Health and Fitness. We want to be atop of everyone’s mind when it comes exercising, advice, fitness communities and a source of information. Ultimately, we want GrpFit to be synonymous with Black Health and Fitness.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Nothing is too hard to accomplish. If you don’t have the necessary skills to embark on your entrepreneurial journey, then take the time to educate yourself and surround yourself with others who complement your skills. Also, be prepared to learn along the way and always keep an open mind to changing things at a drop of a dime. The latter is crucial because what you think may be a great idea may not be what people want.

 

GrpFit is currently available on iOS and Android

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

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Black Fitness Professionals and Businesses You Should Know

The following Black Fitness Professionals will inspire you and help you do what it takes to achieve your fitness goals. #HealthIsWealth

Black Fitness Professionals

Curvylista Fitness is an East Orange NJ based boutique group fitness studio exclusively for women who want to create a lifestyle of being healthy, happy, and strong.

Micah Baisden is the Owner and Lead Trainer of PowerHouse Sports Academy. They focus on cultivating a motivational and supportive atmosphere.

Ash Fitness is an expert in capitalizing on maximizing fitness results in a small period of time.

8PackUniversity (8PU) is founded by bernard Hilary. 8PU provides health, wellness, and fitness services to the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia or also know as the DMV.

Black Fitness

FitMamaCity was founded in NYC by Tamara Pridgett. She provides pre and post-pregnancy personal training for the modern, fit-mama.

D.A.M. Good Bodies Elite Personal Training in Philly, offers One on One Personal Training, Boot Camp Training and a Clean Eating Supermarket Tour.

Jeanette Jenkins is the founder of The Hollywood Trainer. She is also one of Hollywood’s most sought after Health & Fitness Experts with over 25 years of experience.

Obi Obadike is an award winning celebrity fitness/nutrition expert and creator of Perfect Anatomy Fitness Solutions Online Personal Training.

Nicole Monroe is a Richardson, TX based certified personal trainer that specializes in strength & conditioning, H.I.I.T, and core toning.

Brittne Babe is one of the many certified personal trainers and health and wellness coach that offers one-on-one training programs and personalized meal plans.

Magda Civil is a personal trainer who provides online fitness challenges and online boot camp group training with over 200 participants.

Cassandra Nuamah is a fitness fanatic and certified Kukuwa Dance Workout Instructor. The Kukuwa workout that has you immediately moving your arms, waist, legs, and hips to a blend of Central, East, South, West, and North African rhythms.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add a business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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How GirlTrek Inspired a Love Letter to Black Women

My interview with GirlTrek is one that has been in the making for a while now—I just didn’t realize it.  My first encounter with them was last year. I was in New Orleans, spending Christmas and ushering in 2016 at the home of my future parents in-law.  I came across GirlTrek’s website while doing research for a health-related post. At the time, I didn’t really pay much attention.

girltrek
In New Orleans with Shantrelle

Next, Shoppe Black content contributor extraordinaire, Mavis Gragg, mentioned GirlTrek in one of her recent posts. Then, a few months ago, my fiancées childhood BFF, Jewel, was in town for work. During one of our conversations, I found out that she is actually GirlTrek’s National Director of Communications.

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Jewel

We spoke more about the organization and I was immediately impressed by the impact they are having on the lives of thousands of women across the country. I asked her to please set up an interview with the co-founders, Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison.

girltrek
Morgan and Vanessa

Fast forward to my scheduled conference call that took place the day before yesterday. When I called Vanessa, she was grabbing a bite to eat at a Peruvian food spot in DC. We chatted briefly about the difference between DC and Philly before Morgan hopped on the call.

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I began the interview by asking how GirlTrek started. Morgan explained that it started 20 years ago. That’s how long she and Vanessa have been friends. They started walking together and eventually grew a following of 10,000 women.

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Since then, GirlTrek has grown to over 75,00 members. According to Vanessa, the more accurate number is most likely double that since they weren’t really keeping an accurate count in the beginning and several unofficial chapters have since sprung up across the country.

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Both women are deeply concerned with the fact that of the over 20 million Black women in America, 57% are obese and are leading in every obesity-related disease across the country.  According to Morgan, the root cause of obesity and the related diseases is connected to a history of racism and poverty.

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Black women have historically had to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders and put everyone before themselves, sometimes neglecting their own health. Now, she says, it’s time for Black women to take that power back and reclaim their health, starting with making the commitment to walk for at least 30 minutes a day.

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I let Morgan and Vanessa know that as a Black man, I feel it’s my responsibility and the responsibility of other Black men to do what we can to ensure the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of Black women.

I asked what ways they feel Black men can support their wives, partners, or relatives who are GirlTrek members. How can we support Black women in general?

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That question seemed to catch them off guard. It was pretty obvious they weren’t expecting to hear that. They thanked me for asking and explained that it is vital that Black women receive support from the Black men in their lives.

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According to Morgan, the best way to be supportive is to create an environment that allows Black women the time for self-care. Another way to be supportive is for Black men to take care of themselves mentally, physically, and financially so that the women in their lives don’t have to do so while trying to figure themselves out.

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Vanessa and Morgan are troubled by the narrative that is being told about Black women. We’ve all heard the negative stereotypes, so no need to get into all that. However, what concerned me was that based on our conversation, there seemed to be a sense that Black men just aren’t here for Black women.

That we are the ones perpetuating a negative narrative associated with Black women. Morgan said that from what she sees in the majority of cases, the only time love or appreciation for one’s partner is expressed, particularly online, is between a Black man and a non-Black woman or a Black woman and her non-Black partner.

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I explained that this is far from the truth. First, I am surrounded by far too many loving, caring, funny and brilliant Black women to subscribe to any type of negative stereotype or narrative about them. Second, my woman and I have absolutely no qualms about expressing our love for each other verbally, physically, or digitally. In fact, we do so regularly and often get playfully teased about it by our friends.

I also explained that I have conversations with my closest friends about how amazing and beautiful Black women are ALL. THE. TIME. Especially about the women that we are dating, engaged to, or are married to. I think one issue is that the negative minority are way louder than the majority of Black men that adore Black women. Maybe they have more time on their hands to be on social media talking nonsense, who knows.

But to be clear:

Dear Black Women,

We see you. We see you in all your glory and greatness. In your high and low moments. We see you because you stand out amongst the crowd. Your magic is undeniable. We see you because we are looking for you wherever we go. Wherever you are is where we want to be. You are our complement and we are yours. Not in a sexual or romantic sense, but universally. We know you were made by the hands of the Creator, and that alone imbues you with a power and a grace unmatched on this Earth.
 

Love,

Black Men

(by TJ Dean)

Click here to watch GirlTrek’s mini-documentary that highlights what happens when women walk. 

 

Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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22 Businesses in the $3.4 Trillion Health and Wellness Industry

Our list of Black owned businesses in the health and wellness industry is here right on time. Why? Because each new year is typically accompanied by resolutions related to improving health. My goals have generally stayed the same – to increase my income, improve my diet and to exercise more.

This past year, kudos to me, I’ve made quite a bit of progress. I’ve lost almost 30lbs in the past 7 months. Now, in the right lighting and depending on how much I’ve had to eat, I can actually see something that resembles a six pack. I owe much of this progress to whomever created the meme below.

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With so many factors negatively affecting our health, whether it is genetically modified food or the unpronounceable chemicals in our household products, it is even more important that we pay much closer attention to our health.

There are at least five chronic health conditions that disproportionately affect Black Americans more than any other group. Also, the health issues that were once unique to the West are now becoming prevalent on the Continent. Don’t be fooled by the late night infomercials featuring starving children.

Today, increasingly more people in developing countries go to bed having consumed too many calories rather than going to bed hungry. Being overweight is rapidly becoming a more common problem than being underweight. This is due in large part to the popularity of fast food chains spreading across Africa.

 

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The good news is that these days, whether you live in the Western hemisphere or on the Continent, it is likely that you are taking some steps toward living a healthier life.

Africans in Africa are rapidly becoming much more health conscious and the big bellies that once represented wealth and good living are not the status symbol they once were.

In the U.S., more Black people are also interested in fitness and health, as is evident by the large following that fitness-related sites like Black Men RunBlack Women Do Workout, and Black Fitness Today have amassed.

hbcu_5k1According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute, the $3.4 trillion Global Wellness Market is now three times larger than the worldwide Pharmaceutical industryThe report states that the sectors seeing the most significant growth since 2010 are the Fitness and Mind-Body industry as well as Healthy Eating, Nutrition, and Weight Loss industry.

What does this mean? Simply put, people are relying less on drugs to prevent and solve their health issues.
The Fitness and Mind-body industry ($446.4billion) includes gyms and health clubs; personal training and yoga. The Healthy Eating, Nutrition, and Weight Loss industry ($574 billion) include: health foods, natural and organic foods; weight-loss and diet services; diet and weight-loss foods and meal services; and anti-obesity prescription drugs.

Black Owned Businesses in the Health and Wellness industry

There are abundant opportunities available for Black owned businesses and entrepreneurs who are interested in in this industry. Here are several businesses and services that encourage health and wellness and will help you get in shape for the new year and beyond!

Healthy Eating, Nutrition, & Weight Loss

Food and Beverage

Black Owned Businesses

Jus Blend is a Jamaican-rooted; New York City-based family business that produces fresh, cold pressed juices to the city and surrounding areas. Their produce is “fresh and sourced within 24-hours of your order.”

Black Owned Businesses

Jimmy’s Vegan Cookies  Jimmy Prude is the founder of this wholesale Vegan Cookie company based in Chicago. His products are now available on select Whole Foods shelves.

Khepra’s Raw Food Juice Bar: Khepra Anu founded this Washington DC-based raw food juice bar that was featured in the Washington Post’s Best Eats in 2012.

The WaterHole is owned by Lisa Harris. This Maryland based juice bar also provides coffee, wifi cable, and good vibes.

Local Farms

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Five Seeds Farm is a family-owned and operated city and country farm in Baltimore, MD. This city-based farm was developed in the spring of 2008 in the backyard of a Belair-Edison neighborhood and quickly expanded to other vacant lots and private yards across the city.

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Renaissance Community Co-op has a mission to create a democratically-owned and controlled grocery store in Northeast Greensboro, NC, that provides all of Greensboro with healthy foods at affordable prices.

Black Owned Businesses

Patchwork City Farms is a family owned urban farm located in the South West Atlanta historic West End neighborhood. Patchwork City Farm’s mission is to “work with local landholders – public and private – to create a sustainable, naturally grown local food system.”

Fitness and Mind-body industry

Yoga

Black Owned Businesses

NY based Afro Flow Yoga infuses electrifying dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence of gentle yet powerful stretches. Founder, Leslie Salmon Jones is a former Alvin Ailey dancer, certified holistic personal trainer, yoga instructor, certified wellness coach, and public speaker.

Michael Hayes, the owner of NY based “Buddha Body Yoga,” has over 20 years experience teaching and has has traveled regularly to Thailand to study with master teachers. His class will benefit anyone regardless of their individual anatomy, flexibility, age, or yoga background.

Black Owned Businesses

Chelsea Loves Yoga is founded by Chelsea Roberts, PhD. She is an Atlanta based yoga instructor and educator. The purpose of Chelsea Loves Yoga is to illuminate the voices and images of yogis who have been traditionally eliminated or (under)represented in Yoga in the United States and abroad.

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Dade2Shelby  Derrick “DJ” Townsel, a former NFL athlete, has become an inspiration to thousands who didn’t think a passion for fitness or yoga could be a possibility for them— mainly men and people of color. Derrick is now a sought-after Certified Personal Trainer and Calisthenics Instructor based in Orlando.

12208487_1160592893969453_8166857437012076124_nSelamta Yoga is an eco-friendly yoga mat company based in San Diego and founded by Aregache Demelew, or “Mimi’. The company is dedicated to spreading the practice of yoga, eastern philosophy & culture to the world. Selamta means “Peace Be With You” in Amharic (a native language of Ethiopia)

Black Owned Businesses

Spa & Resorts

Black Owned Businesses

Virginia-based, Salamander Resort & Spa, features 168 luxurious rooms and suites, a luxury spa, full-service equestrian center, a dedicated cooking studio, wine bar, billiards room and a unique array of conference and banquet facilities.

Chatto Salon is a full service, eco-friendly salon located in the Gold Coast area of Downtown Chicago, IL, that offers its own natural and organic products.

Atlanta-based, IWI Fresh Garden Day Spa, partners with local farms and gardens and handpicks fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs to create fresh skin care products. They offer spa services such as Manicures, Veggie Pedicures, Veggie Facials, Herbal Massages, Waxing, Threading and Natural Hair Care.

Black Owned BusinessesFrancine’s Salon and Day Spa, the first Black owned Salon & Day Spa in Hartford County has been located in Bloomfield, Connecticut, for over a decade. The founder, Francine Austin, is a 20-year plus veteran of the cosmetology industry.

Fitness Centers

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Shaun Chambers, BodyRoc founder, is a former boxer and song writer. His BodyRoc Fit Lab is CT’s first dynamic, boutique boxing studio. A high-intensity workout that fuses fitness with entertainment, the signature circuit-style workout combines treadmills, heavy bag boxing, and weight training, all in a dance club environment.

Black Owned Businesses

KTX Fitness founder, Keith Thompson, has created an Atlanta-based cycle class that is guaranteed to have you sweating. KTX’s “Rock the Bike™” Cycle, Step, and Zumba are uniquely different and literally an exercise party as it provides a fun and challenging workout that is sure to have you working every muscle.

Black Owned Businesses

Rahman “Ray” Grayson, Mr. Shut Up and Train, is the founder of this Atlanta-based personal training company. His signature “In Motion” style of training focuses on keeping the heart rate elevated and the body in motion. Whether you are aiming to lose weight, build muscle, or gain endurance, Ray has the plan for you.

Knight’s Personal Fitness is a Philadelphia-based personal training facility founded by Tommi Knight. His first location was in a basement. A few months later he moved to a 1,100 square foot studio space. Now, Tommie trains clients in a 5,000-square-foot facility. I guess you can say, business is booming.

Dance

Black Owned Businesses

BRUKWINE is a Caribbean inspired dance workout created by professional dancers and choreographers, Tavia and Tamara. Brukwine, “Break out and Wine,” is a NY-based workout class featuring dancehall moves turned choreography, complete with waste winding and hot sounds straight from Jamaica.

The Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center is based in NY. Founded former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater turned Director of Student Affairs (and founder of the OWLAG’s Dance Company) at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, DSPAC aims to mold the world’s next generation of elite dancers and artists.  No worries, they also offers a variety of classes for adults ranging from Orisa dance workshops to Afro-Caribbean technique classes.

Black Owned Businesses

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson