This February, the entire Peloton family is celebrating Black History Month, through our workouts and within our company. Peloton has always believed that we are stronger together, and that’s why we’re taking this moment to honor and celebrate Black people and their contributions to fitness, music, culture, and society overall. We’re proud of our diverse Member community and the many strides they’ve made in fitness and in life, and we’re thrilled to share the thoughts of several of our Members on what Black History Month means to them.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
LaTisha Jones, Member since 2016: Heritage and Culture. It is a celebration of who I am, as well as a month to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions by African Americans to U.S. history. To me, Black History Month is an opportunity to gain understanding and awareness of the Black culture and our heritage which makes us unique but similar to other ethnic groups in many ways.
Helen Wallace, Member since 2018: Celebration and acknowledgment of African American culture and historical contributions that African Americans have made not only to this country but to the world. A culture that is embedded in the roots of this nation.
Shana Bridgeman, Member since 2016: I have a lot of thoughts about Black History Month, but the first thing that comes to mind is excellence. Black people have demonstrated the tremendous ability to succeed and excel under circumstances specifically designed to prevent Black people from doing so. Black History Month acknowledges what Black people have endured, overcome, and achieved throughout the history of our country. Black History Month creates an opportunity for all people to learn about the significant contributions of Black people to the foundation of America, which people may not have learned in school or in other venues. When we observe and celebrate Black History Month, we give all citizens the opportunity to learn about the diverse story of our country. Black History Month is a time to remember our past, celebrate our history, and look to the future.
Robin Williams: Pride and celebration. I recognize this as a month to illuminate a beautiful and amazing culture. Black History Month is an opportunity to educate and explore the many characteristics of African Americans that are both unique and alike.
How has the Peloton community supported you on your fitness journey?
LaTisha Jones: Black Girl Magic has inspired many Peloton women of color. The Peloton group was initiated in February of 2018 with a very small group of women and has grown to over 600 women. The size of the community makes it challenging to check on each other daily as we were once able to. We encourage finding an accountability partner within the group who provides encouragement, inspiration, and motivation on and off the bike or tread. Our conversations range from celebrating milestones, discussing our favorite Peloton classes and instructors, maintaining healthy hair while working out daily, to discussing real life accomplishments and sometimes disappointments as well. We are a supportive group of women who are growing together.
Helen Wallace: #BlackGirlMagic was born as a way to celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of black women and to congratulate black women on their accomplishments. This happens every day in this group. We address each other as queens, to show honor and respect. We challenge each other to set goals, and then encourage each other to meet them
Shana Bridgeman: The people in Love Squad–the community–inspire each other every single day by showing up, being present, and creating a safe space to have conversations about all things. We have supported each other through the ups and downs of life: encouraging one member to quit her job to pursue her dreams; throwing virtual baby showers for multiple members; and supporting multiple members through challenging health diagnoses. Love Squad inspires each other by having fun, spending time together in person, and celebrating every good and positive thing that the members experience in their daily lives.
Robin Williams, Member since 2017: I remember the post [Courtney Snowden] made on The Official Peloton Member Page on Facebook regarding options for her hair while working out. The responses were a direct indication of need for our group. During the same time of Courtney’s post, LaTisha Jones and I had been sending messages to one another in search of a group for and about Black women who own Pelotons. We saw Courtney’s post and reached out to her. Courtney saw a need, and created our royal court.
How does working out with Peloton help support your identity and your sense of yourself?
LaTisha Jones: I celebrate who I am with the Peloton community by getting to know others in the Peloton community. Of course, much of my interaction is through social media, but I have gained many real friendships that originated from the Peloton community. I often share personal accomplishments and milestones with my Peloton family. This community has shown me so much love. I am able to celebrate who I am because I have connected to several Peloton sub-groups which have allowed me to be authentic and to meet others who are uniquely different but share similar goals. Each of these groups allows me to interact with this community from all perspectives of my life.
Helen Wallace: There are a lot of people in the Peloton family that I connect with and ride with on a regular basis. They may not know who Helen Wallace is, but they know #COCOAMYNT. Cocoamynt is my leaderboard name and most have come to know me as such. Peloton is a huge part of the Wallace household. My husband (#Joker_Q) and I ride together, I call our rides “boo rides”, and the Peloton communities really love to see our posts.
Shana Bridgeman: Working out with Peloton helps support my identity and my sense of self because it allows me to access fitness on my own terms, in the privacy of my own home. I always thought I didn’t like exercising, but I now know that I didn’t like going to gyms (germs) and exercising (and struggling) in front of a bunch of strangers. Peloton, and specifically Ally Love, helped me to develop a regular and consistent exercise regimen for the first time in my life. Now that I exercise regularly, the physical and mental benefits put me in the best position to live out my life’s purpose: to help others, to stand for what is right, and to use my talents to make the world a better place. I don’t define myself by my output or my milestones. Rather, I see the Bike and the Tread as tools which facilitate me becoming the best version of myself. The work I do on the Bike and the Tread expands exponentially into my personal and professional life. Through Peloton, I am becoming more of myself every single day.
Robin Williams: I celebrate who I am by showing up and bring as many as I can with me. There is nothing more encouraging than to get on one of my favorite rides and see a long list of those I follow on with me. It’s an instant party and the only time I keep my leaderboard list open. I make a point to ‘high-five’ as many as I can, as often as I can. Another ritual I have started in order to celebrate myself with the Peloton community is to always have a milestone on my birthday. This forces me to include some sort of fitness as part of my special day. I love to spin. This is where I feel strong! Working out with my Peloton has allowed me to do what I love and see my growth. I see where I started and I have real time measurements of my achievements.
What does it mean to you in class when you hear music from Black artists, or take classes from Black instructors?
LaTisha Jones: Peloton music playlists are very diverse. When I hear music from black artists, it shows me that Peloton recognizes that inclusiveness is important to all their members. I enjoy most genres of music, but the soul music rides are my favorite. I love that Peloton has African-American women and men teaching classes. It gives all members an opportunity to experience fitness and music from different vantage points.
Helen Wallace: It’s inspiring. I love the fact that all of the instructors play music by Black artists, but I am a lover of all kinds of music. It solidifies the conception that Black artists are continuing to make music that is universally appealing. As far as the instructors go, I’m a fan of them all. Regardless who the instructor is, I know when I mount my Peloton I’m going to get a great workout.
Shana Bridgeman: I love music and it motivates me to move on the Bike and on the Tread. If I am not enjoying the music, my body refuses to cooperate. So good music means a good workout! Ally Love, Jess Sims, Alex Toussaint, and Chase Tucker are all phenomenal instructors and each one has added tremendous value to my Peloton experience. Ally inspires me as a person and coaches me to accomplish things physically that I never thought I could. Jess Sims is a natural teacher and a leader, which is important when teaching us to perform her extremely difficult bootcamp exercises! (“Difficult” is a compliment – it means we are getting what we pay for.) Jess Sims is very encouraging and she fosters a sense of gratitude by reminding us, “You don’t have to do this; you GET TO do this!” Alex accepts no excuses, which is awesome on days when I am low on energy. Alex is very supportive of his riders and the other instructors; he shouts out the #LoveSquad every time I ride with him. Chase’s peaceful positivity is a great reassurance during Tread runs and he understands that the work he does extends beyond the 45 minutes of his class and into the rest of our lives.
Robin Williams: Hearing music from African American artists and taking classes from African American instructors means inclusion. There is a uniqueness or magic, if you will that comes distinctly from our culture. In terms of music, whether it be a specific rhythmic beat, a melodic note or a sensual verse, it comes from the depths of the soul. This is also true of taking classes with African American instructors. Alex Toussaint has a way of using his own culture when serving up his authentic flavor and Ally’s bouncing afro gives all of the Queens of BGM life!
How do make your own history on and off the Peloton Bike every day?
LaTisha Jones: I personally encourage other members and actively work to disprove myths and stereotypes regarding Black women. In my local community, I work in the public utility industry and I am responsible for making sure all customers receive electric power that is safe, reliable, and affordable. I am also a member of the Women’s Leadership Network. This is an organization that was created for women, by women, to support women who are seasoned or aspirant leaders in the home, at work or in the community. I enjoy being part of a group of women from various backgrounds looking to empower other women. In addition, I serve in my community on the city planning commission and previously served on the local board of directors for Habitat for Humanity. I am committed to building and restoring my community and delight in providing affordable, and safe housing. I make history by showing others that it is possible to lead a healthy lifestyle, while working full-time and being wife and mother.
Helen Wallace: I RIDE! When I’m not riding, I’m recruiting other queens and telling them about the Peloton family and the Black Girl Magic community.
Shana Bridgeman: I make my own history every day by seeking intellectual freedom and encouraging others to do the same. I do so by challenging the status quo, disrupting negative mindsets, and dismantling limiting beliefs. Once we release ourselves from negative mindsets and the status quo, it creates the intellectual freedom to develop our individual purpose and explore the full depth of our power. The result is the we are able to engage in and contribute to society in a more meaningful way. My day-to-day choices are based on the freedom mindset, standing for what is right, loving others, and living authentically. Those choices have an effect on those around me, and that is the legacy (or history) that cultivate each day.
Robin Williams: I make history on the Bike by dispelling the myth that black people don’t work out. Off the bike I make history by intentionally being my sister’s keeper. I make a point to look for ways to encourage, enlighten or just engage. I grew up with the ideology “Black women cannot get along with each other.” I intend to make that statement false by fostering positive and nurturing relationships as often and as much as I can.