In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share a number of Black Women in the health and wellness space that are impacting and have impacted this industry by making it a more inclusive and vibrant place. Black Culture has long been about caring for yourself and others through spiritual and time-honored traditions passed down through generations. To learn about or practice what we think of as wellness or self-care without recognizing the influence Black Culture has had on it would be missing an essential aspect of how the concept was shaped. There are countless people who could be highlighted in this post, but I've chosen a few women who have inspired how I approach health and wellness in my life. Some you'll know, others I hope you'll learn more about and I hope you'll join me in seeking out and celebrating Black wellness advocates every month and every day.
I first discovered Deun through her captivating photography on the wonderful world of Instagram. Deun has an incredible way of illustrating the multi-dimensional beauty of Black Women through her lens. Each photograph highlights the uniqueness and beauty of her subjects while drawing your attention into the scene with a sense of knowing and understanding that I simply cannot describe in words. More recently Deun has dedicated herself to creating her collective, The Body: A Home For Love, focusing on helping Black Women heal from sexual trauma—sharing experiences, solutions for growing through pain, advocating for yourself, and lifting one another up.
If you're an avid Peleton rider and have not taken a class with Hannah Frankson, you're missing something special. Hannah brings an energy to her classes that is contagious you, cant help but smile. That is until she has you in the middle of an HIIT + Hills class pushing the limits of what you thought was physically and mentally possible. There is something so real about her delivery, she makes you feel like a friend. Sometimes riding with Hannah is my only motivation for getting on the bike that day. After years of struggling with insomnia and depression, I have found that exercise is the most effective tool I have to keep these two challenges at bay—but even still, the motivation be hard to find. Hannah's classes make her riders feel like a better version of themselves than they were 20/30/45 minutes before. Every time I raise my arms over my head at the end of a ride for her signature "Massive V for Victory" I'm closer to being the version of myself I like most.
Sasha is a fitness and wellness enthusiast and influencer who may just be one of the coolest people on IG. I met Sasha through a group of friends right after launching Palermo during a visit to Toronto. She joined us for dinner and I felt instantly connected to her energetic and incredibly authentic personality. Since then Sasha has become a mother and is among the hardest working ladies out there but the most amazing thing about her is she's always herself. Whether demoing a helpful workout series you can do from home, sharing BTS of shooting national campaign, or applying a facial mask in her bathroom while candidly sharing any real-life struggles she's facing and enjoying the only peace and quiet she's had that day.
It's been a little over a year since I first meet Trinity in person, however, I'd known about her company Golde and her hustle on the Brooklyn maker scene for years. We chatted (pre-pandemic) business goals and aspirations and I was so excited to see her bringing her dream of making wellness accessible to everyone to life. Since then, Trinity has done just that as she has grown her business over 10x and launched her newest product line in Target! It's been incredible to watch her star soar and see her achieve well-deserved success after working hard for years to make it happen!
For years, Lalah Delia's words on Instagram have been inspiring us and reminding us to love ourselves. In an interview with us back in 2019, Lalah shares how her path as a Wellness Educator was born from her own personal need to cleanse her life of things and people that didn't serve her. Whether ready to admit it or not, we all have these things in our lives, taking up space, time and energy that could be utilized in a more positive, productive way. Lalah has dedicated herself to helping others heal and let go of the things that may be stealing joy.
It's safe to say the impact Oprah has had on wellness is immeasurable. For me personally, she has served as a steady voice of affirmation to recognize my value, check-in with myself, and that vulnerability is not only acceptable but essential. I remember when I was a kid, I would come home from school every day and turn on her show to see her give away luxurious surprises to her audience but more importantly have conversations with people about real, hard things. How many people have you seen speak to Oprah about things you've never heard people speak about publicly but you yourself have struggled with internally? Being able to relate in that way is powerful. Seeing that sharing your heart, your struggles, your achievements with others is profound and part of the beauty of life. When I think of the barriers she had to cross to get to where she is today it makes me feel like anything is possible. Possibly the most notable aspect of her impact on wellness is how many people she has help cross barriers of their own.
In the '90s Lisa Price founded natural skincare brand Carol's Daughter in her Brooklyn kitchen, so naturally, I'm a huge fan. For nearly 30 years, Lisa has been creating beauty products with Black consumers in mind, addressing their specific needs while also inclusive of a broader audience. As a skincare founder myself, Lisa's journey has always fascinated me but moreover, her resiliency in an industry that was not accepting of natural formulas, or inclusive to Black women. Lisa changed the landscape of wellness for so many people and paved the way for the natural beauty companies of today.
We've been talking a lot about Audre Lorde lately particularly in reference to the notion of self-care. In defining Palermo's values as a brand around the idea of self-care, it was clear that honoring Lorde's contribution to how we use and think of the term today was necessary. Without Lorde's writings and work around dismantling the stigma that self-care is selfish, society may not have made the progress in embarrassing the notion of self-care the way we have today. This contribution to wellness is boundless.