3 US Influencers Decolonising Wellness
As profiled in Decolonising Wellness, advocates for inclusivity are overhauling the wellness industry. Here, we spotlight three US-based change leaders who are accelerating the movement, providing portals to real-time conversations around proper allyship and equity.
- Maryam Ajayi: In early 2020, Nigerian-born, LA-based energy healer Maryam Ajayi launched consultancy Dive In Well to educate wellness brands on effective allyship. The business grew out of a series of Diversity in Wellness dinners that Ajayi hosted last year, bringing dozens of wellness thought leaders together in NY and LA.
She’s currently co-teaching the four-part course Pivot to Equity, which focuses on building wellness brands that are “rooted in anti-racism, decolonisation and racial equity” (free for BIPOC participants). Ajayi also recently joined self-care support group Black Girl Magik for #BGMBetterTogether – an Instagram Live festival and fundraiser discussing wellness for the African diaspora.
- Nicole Cardoza: Working to support BIPOC business owners (see Supporting Diverse Entrepreneurs), New York-based Nicole Cardoza founded US grant organisation Reclamation Ventures last year. In March, it launched a Wellness Relief Action Fund to help support BIPOC-owned yoga studios affected by Covid-19. The crowd-funded grant has far exceeded its initial goal of $10,000, raising over $166,000 so far.
In June, Cardoza announced Anti-Racism Daily to her 70k Instagram followers – a newsletter dedicated to dismantling racism. The briefing connects activist action with news coverage, garnering 60,000 subscribers in under two months. She also leads Yoga Foster, which brings subsidised yoga classes to US public schools.
- Latham Thomas: Latham Thomas is a doula, author of the recently published book Own Your Glow, and founder of NY-based maternity lifestyle brand Mama Glow. In addition to supporting Black mothers-to-be (who are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women – CDC, 2019), she addresses the full spectrum of women’s health through an inclusive lens.
Thomas works to “reclaim birth” for her diverse 126k followers by hosting Mama Glow webinars, covering topics from demystifying maternal health to raising young activists. At the recent Mastercard-sponsored Self-Care & Beauty Summit hosted by women’s career advocacy platform @createcultivate, she discussed holding space for women of colour in wellness.