February 28, 2013

You Have Something Powerful to Offer the World.

Okay, so I just started watching Scandal on television.

I stayed up to 2am on a school night to watch the first season and I am in love and inspired by the show.

For those of you who don’t know the show, it’s about a powerful black woman who has a law firm in Washington, dedicated to just helping people. They call themselves Gladiator’s in Suits—brilliant!

The lead character was a former White House Executive, working closely with the President—and she has power—real power. Olivia Pope is definitely hawt and my new girl crush; she represents everything I love.

Olivia Pope is strong, powerful, compassionate, respected, educated and vulnerable. This character is refreshing…and she even explores inter-cultural dating.

Ten years ago we would have never seen a white man kissing a black woman on television.

Media seems to regularly type cast black women as angry, insecure and inaccessible. It’s the first time ever I have seen an incredibly powerful, black woman represented in this way.

Usually, black women of power are portrayed as angry or as an abandoned single mother. They always seem to come from a impoverished background and end up needing to be saved.

It is so nice to see diversity represented in a really powerful and sexy way.

I grew up in the 70’s in middle class/working class Canada. I was one of only three children, with ethnically diverse backgrounds in my entire school.

I never saw anyone on television that represented my family.

Good Times was the show that represented black culture; it set the stage and idea that black families lived in the ghetto and as struggling and impoverished.

Then, the 1980’s came and Bill Cosby and the Huxtables entered the scene; the landscape changed and people of color could be perceived as successful. Wow! What a notion—to embrace successful, educated ethnic people.

I received flack at school about the show. My friends and teachers said it was really wasn’t representative of black culture. There is no way a doctor and lawyer who were black could be married and successful—the concept seem incredible and so far-fetched.

Fast forward to 2013 and one of the most influential icons in popular culture is a black women: Oprah Winfrey. She, by far, has changed our perceptions of ourselves.

She has forever changed how the world looks at people of color.

Television, like Scandal, would have never existed without her influence. If you had told me as a little black girl in Canada that one day one of the most successful people of all time would a black woman, I would have never ever believed you.

The landscape is changing. The minority will soon be the majority. The fringe counter culture is now mainstream and finally we are beginning to shift how we think about people who are different from us.

I would love to continue to see that shift of awareness on our yoga mats. The identity of the world is changing and we need to embrace everyone, especially in yoga; I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zones and embrace diversity and inclusion.

What that means is that we have a collective, inclusive conversation about what keeps us from the mat—we don’t judge, we just accept. If we don’t know as students and teachers what is holding us back from embracing our differences and learning to love ourselves as we are, then how can we move forward and change the face of yoga?

We all need yoga. We all need each other. We all have something powerful to offer the world.

I am calling all yogis and yoginis, of different shades, sizes, diversity, sexual orientation and identities to be part of the conversation—and be the person that contributes to change.

Your story matters, your experiences matter, your vice matters.

How do we change our perspective?

We communicate with each other and we share our experiences.

Are you in?




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Ed: Bryonie Wise


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