It’s no secret that our female community is what continues to drive us.
United by a mutual appreciation for fitness, our community continues to grow every day, becoming only more inclusive and more diverse.
This month, in celebration of Black History Month UK, we’re using our platform to amplify and share the stories of our Black athletes.
Keep on reading to see what Black History Month means to them.
WHAT DOES BLACK HISTORY MONTH MEAN TO YOU?
To me, Black History Month is a time to focus on continued work, which recognises and celebrates achievements from a group of people that look like me, my father and my grandparents. It's a call to put a spotlight on the contributions of prolific figures and events that have been overlooked, so that we can all contribute to changing the narrative of what we celebrate as history in modern society.
Black History Month is a chance to acknowledge, celebrate and show our appreciation for the Black community. It’s a time when people can come together and learn about the culture that is not often taught about, as well as addressing the racism that, unfortunately, still exists today.
It gives people an opportunity to reflect on the struggle previous generations had for freedom and how some of the most inspiring people were able to break down some of the barriers that Black people faced.
WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD OF YOUR HERITAGE?
It would be very difficult to focus on just one thing. In general, what I love about my Black heritage is the food, the music, the fashion, but most importantly the way we are raised by our parents and grandparents to be proud of our identity. The number one priority for any Black or Brown parent is education. This is because education is the fundamental building block through which all other forms of social, economic and political prosperity are derived. So, what my Black heritage has taught me is the importance of knowledge as a vehicle for freedom and achieving greatness.
HOW CAN MORE PEOPLE GET INVOLVED TO SUPPORT THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND PROMOTE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM PEOPLE OF COLOUR?
Black history is so important and I believe more people can contribute to upholding our history and supporting the Black community as a whole by truly understanding and actually educating themselves on 'Black culture'. There are so many customs and cultural practices to be gratified, honoured and respected that I think would be viewed differently if, as a whole, we took the time to step back to understand the difference between cultural appropriation versus cultural appreciation.
The best way, in my experience, is to get involved by supporting artists, creators and the voices of our community whether it’s supporting Black-owned businesses, attending spoken word events or attending protests against injustice.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Never allow anyone to make you feel a certain way because of your skin colour. You can still achieve everything you want regardless of colour or culture!
Don’t ever be afraid to try - trying is how you are going to learn things that make you smarter, wiser and stronger. And don’t worry about failing because it’s not a failure if you learned something that can make you better as you move ahead.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
One of my proudest achievements, which is still an ongoing process, is bridging the gap for girls that look like me, especially in the digital space.
Since starting out as a fitness and lifestyle digital content creator, I haven’t really been able to see a whole lot of women that look like me, which made it really hard to relate to others in this field outside of lifting weights. I wanted to strive to become the representation that I didn't get to see myself before choosing to dive head first into building my own legacy and platforms.
My objective has been to take up as much space and assimilate myself in as many spaces, platforms and pages I have the opportunity to be shared on or a part of. It makes a huge difference to see someone who looks like you winning too, and I want to continue to be that encouragement and ‘excuse remover’ for Black women, both young and old.
HAS THE COLOUR OF YOUR SKIN EVER IMPACTED CERTAIN AREAS OF YOUR LIFE?
Subconsciously, the colour of my skin has always had an underlying impact on my life. Whether that impact was negative or positive, I’ve been made to acknowledge that all issues stem from misunderstanding and whether or not I choose to feed into the sorrows of my culture’s history or embrace the beauty within it. With that, I am able to alter how others perceive me, not only as a person of colour but as a member of the Black community.
Working within the NHS and the healthcare industry, I have received several micro-aggressive racist comments. Being questioned about my background, being asked ‘where I am really from’ and being congratulated on speaking ‘good English’ are all backhanded comments I have had to deal with. These can be belittling, upsetting and extremely frustrating to hear in this day and age.
WHICH ATHLETES DO YOU LOOK UP TO OR WHICH ATHLETES INSPIRE YOU?
I love how the fitness industry has been changing over the past few years. It has become much more inclusive and it wasn’t until I started following the fitness journeys of Leana Deeb, Analis Cruz, Elena Stavinoha and Kennedy Bonham that I started to believe I could inspire others to start their fitness journeys as well.
Serena Williams is incredibly inspiring and a role model to a lot of women. Being a Black woman in a predominately White sport, she has endured racism, yet never once let that destroy her, and has grown to dominate in a sport that according to society, ‘she didn’t belong to.’
She has used her sporting success to take on race and gender issues that exist within the sport and has changed the lives of women. She has encouraged Black women, in particular, to be confident, proud and to always work towards their dreams.
Black is beautiful, Black is strong and powerful and Black is unique.
We’ve loved catching up with our incredible athletes and while Black History Month UK ends later this month, the conversation will always continue. Not just for us, but for the world.
Want to continue celebrating with us? Discover more about the history and significance of Black History Month here.