SeedEO, Educator & Yoga/Wellness Expert
Style Root Inc.
I have worked nearly 15 years in New York City as a public relations professional. My experiences with corporate, cutting-edge, rising and personal brands have been incredible. Altogether, they have clarified my true calling to share, teach and heal. Today I stand as a social entrepreneur with my company Style Root Inc. and its signature offering YouArePR.
In the midst of my holistic re-branding, the concept of BREATHE was divinely planted. And despite my antics (you know the ‘usual suspects’- fear, doubt and distraction), it remained at the top of my mind until I said, “Yes, I will”. BREATHE not only fuels my purpose, it mirrors the core of who I am… a spirit-led human, a Black woman, a daddy’s girl, a big sister, a loyal family member, partner and friend… and hopefully will become… a blessed wife, mother and change maker. BREATHE is my way of fighting hate with love; my approach to healing ourselves, our families, our communities and our nation. BREATHE is my “mustard seed” contribution. It is my prayer, meditation and dream.
Almost a year ago, I remember getting a call from my mother right before one of my yoga classes. Something in those first few seconds made me feel that she had bad news. I was right. My grandmother just took her last breath, two days shy of her 92nd birthday. My parents were waiting for the rest of the immediate family to arrive by her side to arrange the next steps. My mother was crying, and I was silent. We got off, and my first thought was, “Do I still teach my yoga class?” And before I could be overwhelmed in emotions, I started to breathe. My grandmother softly appeared in my mind, and with all of her lifelong values (integrity, family, service, spirituality), she gently whispered in my ear, “Of course, you still teach your class. You were made to do this.” I embodied my grandmother’s calm yet mighty spirit, and I taught my yoga class. I know that would have never happened if I didn’t take time to breathe. Love you, Gran. RIP
LIM College, MPS-Fashion Marketing Student
PR Assistant at Style Root Inc.
I had to breathe was this past February. One day after my fashion show and on my way to work, I had gotten a call from my paternal grandfather saying that my dad had a severe stroke. Now my father has a past life of drugs and alcohol, so I immediately started blaming myself. Thinking of all those times in undergrad when he called me drunk, wanting to talk to me. “Maybe I should have listened to him. I could have helped him and saved him from this situation he is in now,” I thought. Upon arriving at the hospital I learned that I was now his power of attorney. “What Lord?? How am I supposed to take care of a man who’s never been there for me, and who I don’t even know?” Time passed and the Lord made me realize this (situation) is what I have been longing for my whole life… a closeness with my father. This happened so we can get to know each other and so I can be there to support him. I’m engaged, so I told my father that he needs to get out of this hospital and remain healthy because I would love to for him to walk down me down the aisle. Eventually when the time is right, I want him to experience being a grandfather and available for his grandkids. At the end of the day, I am his only child. After soooooo many years of not breathing (about this), I’m grateful for this opportunity because it finally allowed me to breathe.
I feel for Black men these days. They need to be celebrated! They carry so much!! We have finally created an outlet for our brothers to breathe!! I’m sure they have waited a long time for such an opportunity. So now they can wear the crown on their heads, finally chill out and BREATHE.
Georgia State University, Marketing and Journalism Student
Intern at Style Root Inc.
I am currently breathing for my future. I often have these mini meltdowns because your future is essentially something that cannot be planned or anticipated. I’m one of those people who likes to have a plan for everything. I’m not obsessive to the point where I plan bathroom breaks or something crazy like that, but I have to have a set time or date as to when certain tasks need to be completed; otherwise I’ll forget about it. I like to know where I’m going or what I’m doing and the steps it will take to get there. But when it comes to me thinking about my future and what I want to do, I have no idea where life will take me. I have absolutely no idea where I want to be in 5 years, or what I want to be doing, and I feel like at 20 yrs old… that’s a huge problem. I just know that I enjoy travelling and shopping, so whatever I end up pursuing needs to be able to compensate for that. Sometimes I sit and think that I’m not doing enough now to be able to satisfy my future self, but then I have to calm myself down, breathe, and realize that I’m not going to have all the answers now. That I just need to explore and live my life how I want now. One day it’ll come to me. Everything will all make sense because everything always works out in the end.
BREATHE is a positive escape for black men in a time when there is nothing but negativity. Although every black man in America may not be directly affected by racism, brutality, or anything along those lines, there are still millions who are. BREATHE is a mental release from every negative impact on our brothers, and even if it only lasts for a few minutes, it still leaves a positive impact and experience in every brother we touch, and that makes everything we’re doing worthwhile.
Purdue University: Public Relations & Strategic Communications Student
Intern at Style Root Inc.
A time that I had to breathe was a few weeks ago. It was on a Thursday evening. That day was literally the longest day of my life. From the moment I woke up in the morning until that night, I was on the move from class, to class, to work, to the library doing homework, an exam, straightening my friend’s hair, internship meeting and finishing an assignment, to studying for a Spanish exam for the next day. In that moment, I felt extremely overwhelmed. I was beyond tired and could not even think straight. After venting to my boyfriend, he instructed me to take deep breaths, and reminded me of how everything would be okay and will be worth it in the long run. I am extremely glad that I breathed because if not, I would have had an anxiety attack and would not have finished the tasks I needed to for that night. In that moment, I took a look at the bigger picture and thought about the reasons why I was breathing.
I feel this campaign is amazing and long overdue, and am blessed to be a part of it. To me, I feel it is a chance for Black men to feel appreciated and heard. In today’s society, all you hear on the news about Black men is crime. Even our President does not always get the praise and recognition he truly deserves. This campaign gives Brothers a chance to vent and know that they are not alone. They get a chance to visually see that other men just like them are dealing with the same day-to-day tasks and struggles at hand. Black men play a HUGE positive role in our society, and it is time for them to be recognized and feel appreciated.
Founder/CEO of ATC Domain Solutions
Read about a time when James had to breathe here.
I remember being a kid, and my dad (RIP) speaking with my brother and I and telling us that as we grew up, we were already ‘behind the 8 ball’ (due to our skin color). I have ALWAYS remembered that talk and lived my life in a way to NOT bring shame on myself, or our people. I’m not some radical; I’m black, proud and I love and treat everyone like I want to be treated. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know this country is at a crisis point when it comes to black males.
Graphic Designer and Art Educator
Find out what Amiyr is breathing for here.
What the campaign means to me is health and wellness for black men. This is something I care about as I see the continuing mental, emotional and physical wear and tear that black men endure, regardless of their station in life. I think it is important for black men to be considered as human, rather than a nuisance and just useful for entertainment purposes.
Danyelle “TYGR” Vilmenay
Eco Bohemian Sound Scapist
I recall being racially profiled by the cops in Ghana Africa, and being detained for frivolous reasons. I was stranded in a country I didn’t know, with a dialect that was also unfamiliar. I could have lost my temper, and lost it all, but I chose to BREATHE. I sat under a tree to meditate and BREATHE for my freedom. Thank God I did, because I was let go within the hour, safe and without tarnishing my character.
This campaign means the world to me, as our black and brown men mean the world to me. Its so powerful to heal, because healing yourself is healing the earth. Healing is knowing your worth and being free in your own greatness. Our men are born with greatness and guided into excellence, if the opportunity is given. I believe that BREATHE is that opportunity for all of our men to live in their true excellence.
Dr. Sir Abdulla Smith Ford
Naturopathic Doctor and Founder of The Perfect Body Health System
Find out what Dr. Ford is breathing for here.
Because of you (Trina). I want you to be successful, and I trust you as a human being and trust what you’re doing. You can’t do this all by yourself. And in the larger scope, it has meaning and vision. I’m a native New Yorker. We are trained to know, find and detect scams. We can sense them before we even see them. Very few things are legitimate in this world… very few people are authentic. So when you see someone who is trying, using their skills to do something powerful and purposeful to get people out of their dormancy, you support it. It’s very real.
Dr. Bishara Wilson
Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Founder of NY Sports Acupuncture
Found out what Dr. Bishara Wilson is breathing for here.
Meditation is key to the awakening of my own consciousness. It helps me to realize my personal power, stay in the present moment and control how I experience the world. As men, we will enjoy vibrant health, discover our individual life purpose, and appreciate the joy that life has to offer, when we BREATHE.
Award-winning Producer and Director
For a while, I went to High School in Brentwood, Long Island (NY). Brentwood is in Suffolk County. The Suffolk County Police Department has often been coupled with the LAPD, as the two biggest perpetrators of police brutality in the United States.
During my last year at school, my African American boyfriend got arrested for running a traffic light. I gathered donations from other students to make bond to get him out. I went to the police station, where I saw that across the street in front of the station, there was a walking demonstration of folks, including a Catholic nun (full habit on and all) taking place. They walked in a circle with picket signs denouncing police brutality & racism. A few officers walked over to the marches and asked them to disband. The demonstrators did not stop marching. One officer confronted the nun, as she seemed to be the leader of the march. They asked her to stop chanting and marching or else the protesters would be removed. The nun refused and questioned the authority of this police officer to violate her right to demonstrate in America. The officer slapped the nun and she fell to the ground. In my mind, the scene turned into slow motion as the protesters dropped their signs and ran to the fallen nun. “B-R-E-A-T-H-E,” I told myself. I knew in an instant that the single most important thing I needed to do was breathe, stay calm, and get my boyfriend out of that holding cell before he was lumped together with the demonstrators. They were all put together in a small cell with my love. Given that I had collected money from the students in school, my money was all in coins and in a brown paper bag. I ran across the street and into the cashier to pay the bond to get my Beloved released. It took two hours to process his release, but we got him out. He had been roughed up a bit, but my revenge was that they had to accept and count all those coins! I can only imagine what happened to those poor demonstrators. Breathing helped me that day to stay focused on getting him out safely.
Traditionally, our communities are not given the tools to cope with a system that is systematically prejudiced. And so we are always in response to the injustices we face. We must support the right of all our people to BREATHE, especially our Brothers who disproportionately occupy our jails and cemeteries.
Corporate attorney, with 22 years of experience, 6 years as a solo practitioner
I started practicing yoga 6 years ago when I lost my job at a large law firm. In my transition to becoming a business owner, I gained confidence in my ability to trust my instincts and make good decisions. During this time I learned that the simplest and most natural way to invite positivity into my life was to BREATHE. Focusing on my breath provides an opportunity to listen to and clarify my thoughts. In times of anxiety and stress I’ve learned that if I BREATHE and then listen to my heart, I will most likely choose the right path and do the right thing.
I am overwhelmed with emotion when I think about the disparities that continue exist between Black and White in America in 2015. I support BREATHE because I am human(e)!
Small Business Consultant, Tax Specialist
As a Program Director, sometimes I often tell myself, “Take a moment, step back, relax and think.” One of the first things I learned (when in charge of people) is that yelling does not make people move faster. It just makes them more flustered. You can’t yell at people. That was never my style anyway, but I’d watch people yell and remember how people yelled at me. It didn’t help me… it just made me scared and resentful. So I realize that when you are patient with people, they work better. So breathing gives me the ability to be patient. I am breathing for patience.
Beyond the fact that I’m always going to support Trina, I totally believe in what BREATHE is doing. The concept helps everyone, not just our men. How can you not want to get involved?