According to a flyer promoting the “Namaste With Attitude” (NWA) class at the Power Of Your Om studio (pictured at right), attendees were asked to “please come dressed in your favorite ghetto fabulous outfit, snap-back caps, cornrows, heavy lip-liner or whatever you can dream up.” For those who didn’t see those selections as “ghetto” enough, the ad also features a link to a WikiHow article (pictured below), entitled, “How To Be Ghetto Fabulous,” with the tagline even stating, “It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none,” referencing a classic Snoop Dogg song.
It wasn’t long before the outrage began pouring in on the studio’s Facebook page.
From Sarita King;
To the owners of POYO: As a black citizen of Santa Barbara, and one who firmly believes that we ALL should all explore various forms of exercise for both personal and spiritual growth, I am disgusted that you have chosen to mock blacks with your “Ghetto Fabulous” class. You may have thought that this would be hip, funny or even something that could “cross cultural lines” but you were seriously wrong. Inviting people to come to class “dressed in your favorite ghetto fabulous outfit, snap-back caps, corn rows, heavy lip liner or whatever you can dream up” is as embarrassing and degrading as asking people to come dressed in black face and play banjos. What the hell were you thinking?
Margaret Goldstein saw the ad as a prime example of White privilege:
You and your staff need to immediately go to some sort of workshop dealing with white supremacy. That ‘ghetto fabulous’ incident tells not only a lot about the leadership, but is a reflection of your customers as well-so maybe you should start funding anti-racist workshops in your space as well as yoga-now that would be an apology + ACTION.
Additional angry posts from others lead the studio’s founder to defend herself in a Daily News interview.
“It was just meant to be a yoga class with rap music,” said Adrienne Hengels. “Having that additional piece with ‘ghetto fabulous’ was a mistake. I didn’t realize the stupidity of it until afterwards.”
Hengels has responded to the backlash by renaming the class “Hip-Hop Yoga,” though musical entries from artists such as Nate Dogg and Warren G will remain for now.
Despite this, it seems the anger is still simmering.
In a post added Wednesday, where the studio posted a positive note about human change and growth, a comment by a man named Kareem JoWilly reads:
The irony of this given the huffington and jezebel articles about your ‘Ghetto’ (read Black culture) yoga classes is palatable.