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Making health & wellness more accessible to black women

PASSIONATE: Marsha Powell, back row centre, and Melissa Sinclair, front row bottom right, with class attendees including Chantelle, top right

MEET MARSHA Powell and Melissa Sinclair, the two ladies behind the Big Hair Self Care motive.

Their mission is to make health and wellness more accessible to women of colour and the black community and to provide a safe space where black women can come and experience wellness together, an industry that they feel we have not been included in previously.

The Voice caught up with the founders to discuss how the Big Hair Self Care initiative came about, what it involves, and where they plan on taking it...

Melissa, founder of Big Hair, a natural hair care line, couldn’t believe her luck when she was
introduced to Marsha, owner of Eve & Grace yoga studio in south London.

“When I found there was a black-owned yoga and wellness studio in London, I knew I had to make this happen. When we met, Marsha already knew who we were, she was really excited to work with us and we were really excited too.”

Both Marsha and Melissa were conscious of the fact that there were a number of reasons why black women didn’t take part in wellbeing classes such as yoga and pilates, which was one of the reasons for their collaboration.

Marsha said: “If you don’t see women who look like you it can be intimidating. There is also an economic issue – my single drop-in class is £15, so if you are on a low income, that might be a stretch. If you go to a gym, you can get a membership, but it brings a different level of energy, it’s about numbers rather than quality.”

She added: “I’m so happy to see more black women on social media demonstrating that black women do yoga, black women do teach yoga and pilates. This collaboration is amazing, we need to collectively change the narrative, not one person can do this. We need to stand together in our power.”

PARTICIPATION

The ladies hope to create more safe spaces, for those who may feel too self-conscious to take part because they’re the only black person in the room, or having people look at you because you’re not as exible, or your shape is a little bit different.

They found that people didn’t understand the need to create a space for just black people and explained that unless you are part of that demographic, you will never understand how it feels and this is why there is a need to create this kind of community, to change and develop the narrative and explore all the possible avenues.

Having attended the last event, I can tell you how great the class was and can honestly say I got a lot more out of it than expected. We were treated to an amazing yoga class by the wonderful Sanchia Legister, which de nitely took me on a journey.

The session ended with us sitting on the floor, known as the ‘sharing circle’ where we’re asked to share one of our self care tips, sharing as little or as much as we wanted. We were all treated to a goody bag including products from the Big Hair range, and Melissa believes that everybody who participates in the class will take away something different.

“It’s so individual, I think the wellness industry dictates who you should be, what you should think, what you should be doing. We want to empower people to explore how they feel and go away with what they needed from it,” she said.

Melissa and Marsha hope to continue to create a space for black women to build a community where people have access to the things that are not inclusive.

For more information, follow the pair on Instagram: @bighair and @eveandgrace_

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