This Fitness Brand Is Combining Trap Music And Aerobics To Help WOC Live A Healthier Life
It's the first day of the July and we are all about continuous wellness, staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle. The year is half way over and it's the perfect time to reflect on the first 6 months but also figure out how you intend to move with intention these next few months. With Summer in full swing, most folks are talking about beach bodies - and although that's cool for aesthetic purposes - working hard to stay active is key for your physical, spiritual, mental and emotional development!
So ... we chatted with Chavonne Hodges who is the founder of GrillzandGranola and lead instructor of Trap Aerobics. Check out this amazing interview with company that is revolutionizing how we stay active!
When and why did you start Grillz & Granola? What inspired the name?
I started GrillzandGranola out a period of heartbreak and anxiety. It was 2015, and I had just gone through a break up. Around the same time, What A Time to be Alive had dropped. That mixtape really helped me feel better. I was trying to sort through my feelings, so I split my time between the gym and the club, but because I have an anxiety disorder, the partying only made my attacks worse. After growing bored with the classes at my gym, I decided to start TrapAerobics.
Over the course of 9 months, I earned my fitness instructor certificate, created a business plan and branding, and worked with my friend Fiona Harvey, MPH and instructor, to develop the class. The name Grillzandgranola is an ode to hip hop, black culture and accessibility in wellness. Grillz are the gold-plated dentures of hip hop and staple of any family cookout, and granola is a synonymous with health and accessibilit. In other words, a granola bar can be found almost anywhere.
What is the goal of TrapAerobics?
The goal of TrapAerobics is to reinvent exercise with creativity and trap music in an authentic way. We wanted to make a challenging workout that anyone can do, which is why we made the moves gender neutral, minimized the twerking and developed verbal and physical cues. I would love to see TrapAerobics become the first black woman-owned fitness class enfranchisement. Something as scalable as Zumba.
Who has been your audience thus far?
So far, we’ve had women of color ages 21-37 attend. I think that’s the best part of all of this. We see women who look like us and women who don’t look like us all in the same room, sweating and smiling. What’s even more rewarding is seeing women of all sizes.
Do you see a growth of women of color interested in the wellness/fitness ?
Absolutely. I think women of color have been into wellness/fitness, but their voices are misrepresented or unheard in the media and elsewhere. I’ve so many women like who champion their culture to push wellness/fitness forward, but it’s one of those things where you either know or you don’t know. That’s why we’re hosting ZEN DAY this year.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for WOC in health & wellness spaces?
I think the biggest challenge is socio-economic power and media influence. There are so many women of color doing amazing things in the wellness and health space, but they’re never given much attention. I think if we had more socio-economic and media power within our community, we will see more WOC in wellness. I feel it happening.
What is your greatest inspiration.
I think my greatest inspiration is the resilience of melaninated people. We’ve been misplaced and marginalized, but we still push through and do things our own way. I learned this when I started traveling. Even with nothing, the world still wants to be like us. Only extraordinary humans are capable of doing those things.
MelaninASS Founder, Dominique Drakeford, had the pleasure of attending Hella Fit at Weeksville where Grillz and Granola .
The Weeksville Heritage Center is a historic site in Brooklyn. It's one of America's first free black communities during the 19th century. Within this community, the residents established schools, churches and benevolent associations and were active in the abolitionist movement. This sacred land has amazing programming for the community, which started about 3 years ago.
"In 2016 - we were like, there's no fitness day going on so let's try to figure out something where we can bring the community out so they they can have fun, get fit and even learn about Weeksville. We found GrillzandGranola and they were our first organization that we locked in to do the fitness day and from there it blossomed into other organizations being apart of it." - Marvin Hickman, Weeksville Programming Manager.
GrillizandGranola along with a host of other dance/fitness companies continue to come together annually for this special day of FREE fitness classes for the Brooklyn community -- And we are here for it!
WE ARE EXCITED TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT WOC IN WELLNESS SPACES AS WELL AS ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE WEEKSVILLE HERITAGE CENTER, THAT CONTINUE TO CREATE SPACE FOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR TO BE HEALTHY, WHOLE AND HAPPY!