AfroBrutality Is Bringing Racial Diversity And Radical Inclusivity To Fitness


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Ever worked out to a Malcolm X speech?

1. At
first AfroBrutality was just a concept; it was
a logo and a way to describe the Harlem-based
group of friends and workout partners, lead by
Syn Martinez, who did CrossFit together.

At first AfroBrutality was just a concept; it was a logo and a way to describe the Harlem-based group of friends and workout partners, lead by Syn Martinez, who did CrossFit together.

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Martinez tells BuzzFeed Health he needed
something that captured the spirit of their
loose collective of mostly black and Latino
athletes that started working out together in
2008, as well as Martinez’s non-conformist,
in-your-face approach to fitness, and the
super-hardcore CrossFit workouts they were
doing. He drew a skull with an afro and a
middle finger as the handle of the afro pick.
He called it Afro Brutality.

ID: 10696779

3. The
AfroBrutality sensibility informed not just
Martinez’s mission to create a more diverse and
inclusive space within the world of fitness,
but also the actual workouts he was creating.

The AfroBrutality sensibility informed not just Martinez's mission to create a more diverse and inclusive space within the world of fitness, but also the actual workouts he was creating.

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ID: 10690976

4. For
example, Martinez says his mission was to
somehow use his workouts to educate the people
he trains. So he found a way to meld exercise
with black history.

For example, Martinez says his mission was to somehow use his workouts to educate the people he trains. So he found a way to meld exercise with black history.

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For example, to commemorate the year the Black
Panther Party was founded, Martinez wrote a
blog post about the Panthers and posted the
workout
“1966: The Black Panther Party is Founded,”
with a rep scheme that called for 19 reps, then
66 reps (for several rounds).

The workout “Shirley Chisholm Runs for
President, 1972,” comes with a
blog post honoring Chisholm, the first
black woman elected to United States Congress
and the first black candidate to run for a
major party’s nomination for president. The
corresponding workout is a 20-round circuit
that calls for one rep, then nine reps, then
seven reps, then two reps to commemorate the
year that Chisholm ran for president (1972).

ID: 10692901

5. And
AfroBrutality workouts are set to music laden
with cultural commentary by black artists like
Gil Scott-Heron and Dead Prez, or to speeches
by Malcolm X.

And AfroBrutality workouts are set to music laden with cultural commentary by black artists like Gil Scott-Heron and Dead Prez, or to speeches by Malcolm X.

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Courtesy Syn Martinez

Here are a few Afro Brutality members doing a
black power salute while holding kettlebells at
the Frederick Douglass monument in Harlem. “The
idea [for this shoot] was ‘power to the
people,’” Martinez says.

ID: 10692936

6. But
Martinez points out that AfroBrutality isn’t
only for people of color.

But Martinez points out that AfroBrutality isn't only for people of color.

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“AfroBrutality is a mindset for people who care
about being healthy, who care about succeeding
in life by any and all means, who will do
whatever it takes to add positivity to their
life and the people around them,” says
Martinez.

“We’re after a mindset of people who want to
lead a positive life and won’t let life dictate
how that looks and feels.”

ID: 10692920

7.
Founding AfroBrutality member Carlos Davila
sums it up: “AfroBrutality is a movement. It’s
expressing yourself in a way that is
unapologetic.”

Founding AfroBrutality member Carlos Davila sums it up: "AfroBrutality is a movement. It's expressing yourself in a way that is unapologetic."

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“This is a place where you can come and kind of
be yourself, and not feel you have to present
yourself a certain way,” he says.

“Come in, be you, and crush the workout or get
crushed.”

ID: 10690756

8. Check
out this video of Martinez and Davila talking
about AfroBrutality.

ID: 10697540

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