Black women have been redefining what wellness looks like since the beginning of time. (I even have a real-life, sassy, still-walking-signifying-driving-gardening example of this via my own 92-year-old Granny, who is the epitome of manifestation and self-preservation, as she has always defined wellness on her own terms.) We continue to shift the narrative, especially when it comes to what "wellness" actually means as a Black woman in a world where it can be so hard to simply exist in fullness.
There are many key voices that have not only solidly, boldly, and intelligently challenge stereotypical and sometimes toxic "norms" of protecting one's peace and maintaining great physical, mental, and spiritual health, and cultivating ideas, methods, and communities that cater to our unique needs. Here are a few you should check out on social and beyond:
Ashlee Wisdom and Eddwina Bright
This duo's digital portal, Health In Her Hue, goes beyond just being a healthcare provider directory for Black and brown women to being a robust resource on topics including reproduction and heart health, LGBTQAI+ inclusivity, and mental wellness via a community of advocates pushing for access and exposure to culturally competent care providers.
Britney Victoria Alston
Britney Victoria Alston is a plant-based chef trained at London's elite Le Cordon Bleu, and while vegan eating is far from a new concept, Britney is leading the charge for a new generation to explore journeys toward wellness in a way that is inclusive and relatable. Through education and recipes, she's using her faith-based platform, The Holistic Fox, to enlighten and empower.
Lalah Delia is giving power in peace and balance through her podcast, book, and social platforms. The author, educator, and School of VIbrations founder is representing for sistas in wellness lovely, as seen via herrecent work with Deepak Chopra's app, as well as her own uber-successful wellness platforms on social and IRL.
Can't have a list about women in wellness without including someone who tackles matters of the heart. Imani Tutt, a licensed marriage and family therapist, covers issues related to intimacy, heartbreak, and "soul-centered" explorations of both love of self and others, overseeing a private community that provides a safe space to venture.
What's intriguing and noteworthy about this psychologist's work is that there's a focus on trauma recovery, particularly issues related to PTSD and identity, and food relationships, tapping into the mental aspects associated with eating habits and choices. Dr. Ebony is also the creator of My Therapy Cards, a tool that allows users to ask self-exploratory questions to reach their life goals.
Dr. Ala Stanford
A board-certified adult and pediatric surgeon, Dr. Ala Stanford is one of the leading voices on the disparity minorities face related to COVID-19 prevention and treatment. She's also one of President Joe Biden's regional director appointees for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and is a featured expert in the Oprah-led documentary, The Color of Care. As a health justice advocate, she's helping to keep the issues of the pandemic—which is definitely not over, especially in terms of the negative impact on Black and brown communities—at the forefront. Talk about taking up space, being a thought leader, and using one's voice for the greater good. Major boss moves, indeed.
Jessamyn Stanley has been unapologetically making yoga and fitness more inclusive for several years now. And today, we're seeing more of the now-author and podcast host who further flourishes in front of cameras for brands including Ivy Park, Gatorade, and Target, just to name a few. She reminds us all that the foundation of wellness is strengthened by confidence, authenticity, and self-love.
Dr. Kera Nyemb-Diop
Dispelling myths about food choices while empowering Black and brown women, this trained nutritionist is redefining what healthy eating truly means. Dr. Kera Nyemb-Diop pulls very few punches when it comes to giving the real on the intersectionality of culture and cuisine and what nourishing ourselves really means.
Dr. Janelle Howell
Not to seem biased but the greatness started with the first name. Ha! And anybody combining the use of the word "coochie" with raw but real insights about sex, reproductive and vaginal health—and has the knowledge and training in women's health physical therapy to back it all up—is certainly a winner in the wellness education department. From debunking popular ideas about the benefits of vaginal "washes" to informing her thousands of IG followers about the true makeup of the clitoris, Dr. Janelle Howell is making sure we all remember that responsible conversations about wellness indeed include sex and pleasure advocacy (as they should.)
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