A big part of why UNDO is so important to me is because it represents both a wider and a proper presentation of health and wellness across the spectrum. We aim to be a platform, resource and community that eliminates the polarizing stigmas attached to the health industry. We call shit out.
A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be elitist. Not everyone can afford a $15 green juice that’s 16-fluid oz (ahem* Blue Print), or a $30-$40 Pilates class (most studios). It’s absurd. What has been driving me nuts recently is how much I stand out in the studios I go to. I’ve been going to a number of studios for megaformer pilates and yoga to supplement my strength training. And I can’t help but notice when I look in the studio mirror, how blonde the entire room is and noticing that I’m the only, if not one of the single-digit POC in the room. You can read further about being the only POC in our other story Filling the Unspoken POC Quota.
Is it just me?!
What was wild was the day that Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ dropped. My megaformer class (all white, no surprise) was blasting it as we were working out. I just ran through the intense music video in my mind as I observed the room in shock. I looked around to see if anyone else was bothered by it but I couldn’t gage any response.
Which leads me to another issue: I am Asian and I grew up in the intensely diverse borough of Queens in the melting pot of New York. So my perspective and comfort zone is always with a room full of POC. I find it to be the beautiful America I know. Like in the film Get Out, “If I’m around too many white people, I get nervous.” That affects me too. So when I walk into a predominantly white room, I know that I stick out as your token POC.
The popular hip-hop themed yoga thats been taking over NYC/LA and beyond has bothered me. There are moments where they will be blasting 21-Savage and hearing “Hit her with no condom, had to make her eat a Plan B” while in downward dog. This AIN’T the vibe. Or seeing that the entire merchandise and room decor themed after hip-hop lyrics. Are the artists of these songs getting love or checks for their intellectual property? Is there homage to the community that actually wrote these lyrics and LIVE the lyrics? Is the studio making an effort to invite the folks of the community into their establishment? No, probably not. Which brings us to the fine line of appropriation versus appreciation.
I’m not anti-white. I’m just pro-diversity if that makes sense. I love a spectrum of melanin. A positive mixture of cultures and heritage all occupying the beautiful land that we call home.
Why we created UNDO
UNDO’s co-founder Vasha welcomes criticism but also asks for solutions. So here’s our solution: UNDO-Ordinary. We work tirelessly on our social, our website, and on our bi-annual publication to aim to break the algorithm, the norm, of how health and wellness are portrayed in present day. The solution is to be vocal, be unapologetic, and call shit out. If you notice this, think of ways you can be inclusive at your workplace, or environment. Invite your POC community into your workouts, or join an UNDO one. Contribute a story. I hope I’m not the only person feeling this way while breaking a sweat at the studio. Let us know what you think.