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Personally, I was immediately sold on the collection because it has one of my favorite motifs ever: Cheetah. But more importantly, I loved the mission of the collaboration — to highlight Black artists and to support POC creatives.
A full 40 percent of profits from the collaboration, dubbed the Sassy Collection, will benefit the Black Lives Matter in its ongoing effort to “end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people and end white supremacy forever.”
“We’re so honored to have the opportunity to work with Kendra,” Sugarmat founder Heikal Gani said in a press release. “She’s an incredible talent, and her vision and aesthetic complement our sugary perspective beautifully. We’re excited to introduce Kendra’s artistry to our consumer while supporting an organization that’s truly doing the work to dismantle systemic racism.”
Shop: Sugarmat Sassy Suede Yoga Mat, $89
Credit: Jamé Jackson
The collaboration strikes a personal chord for me. A few years ago, I was at a loss after a slew of panic attacks left me hospitalized and on medication with no clear explanation. To put it plainly, I felt like I had no options for healing. I researched online, hoping to find ways on how to implement an overall healthier and holistic lifestyle.
I kept seeing yoga as an option, but I won’t lie — I definitely side-eyed the practice at first. My experience with yoga was similar to that of many people of color who grew up in urban cities. Modern yoga seemed to be for rich, young white women who were conventionally attractive and skinny.
For people like me, the popularity of yoga and spread of yoga studios didn’t seem to be centered around my self-care. Instead, it seemed more about the erasure of Black and brown communities in urban cities, making historically “unlivable” neighborhoods into retro and hipster locations.
But after enough Black and brown people told me they had taken up the practice, I gave it a try. Within a matter of months, my anxiety was manageable. I found myself in a happier place in my life mentally, physically and spiritually.
Yet, there is still a large gap in the yoga and self-care market that consistently omits the voices and narratives of people of color. Needless to say, it excites me when the two worlds collide, giving hope that one day communities of color will also have the opportunity to self-care.
Go on and make an investment in your yoga mat — and give back to an impactful movement, too.
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