Chavonne Hodges Trap 50

Chavonne Hodges (Courtesy Photo)

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Some of us get a natural high when we hear the sounds of Future, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Waka Flocka, T.I., 2 Chainz and Migos sharing their street tales of struggle to triumph. Some may even call it euphoric.

Combine this with an uptempo workout and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an evening of fun and fitness: Grillz and Granola

Inspired by her budding interest in fitness and love of hip-hop, Chavonne Hodges was influenced to merge these two passions by pursuing a group fitness certification with a specialization in aerobics instruction. A few dabs and a twerk later, she partnered with Fiona Harvey and created the growing fitness sensation known as Grillz and Granola.

A play on words, the name Grillz and Granola was ideated because Grillz are the gold-plated dentures of hip-hop, and they’re also known to burn food. This is also what your body does when you turn up. And Granola? Well, it’s healthy and, more importantly, accessible almost everywhere.

Get to know more about Grillz and Granola through its founder, Chavonne Hodges.

What year were you founded?

GrillzAndGranola launched our first TrapAerobics class in June of 2016, and since then, we have taught classes in Manhattan, Queens, and Houston, Texas.

What inspired you to launch your business?

The core inspirations were 1) the the lack of resources for people of color who struggle with mental illness 2) the fact that exercise serves as a natural and free alternative to antidepressants 3) my love of working out to trap music and 4) Fiona’s passion for public health.

On a more personal note, I was going through a break-up and trying to manage my anxiety disorder by going to the gym and turning up on the weekends. Alcohol is a depressant, so the late night turn ups weren’t helping my disorder. Fiona had just finished grad school at NYU and was overwhelmed by her post-grad job hunt. We are both from Jamaica, Queens, and to some degree, as black women, we are underdogs. Pairing trap music with aerobics helped us combat an issue that no one talks about in our community, while leveraging music that everyone loves.

(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

What makes your brand/product unique?

GrillzandGranola and the TrapAerobics brand are unique because we are the only trap workout that exists in New York City, our movements are gender-neutral, and we are strict about using trap music and underground artists in our classes. In fact, every month, we add new choreography, share workouts and health tips, and highlight music from underground artists in our monthly newsletter. Before most songs, we give some words of encouragement to our class to remind of them why they are here and why any negativity they have experienced cannot win. We’ve even had trap artists connect with us on social media.

TrapAerobics is all about building community, championing the underdog, celebrating diversity and intertwining culture and fitness.

Why should everyone #buyblack this holiday season?

Everyone should buy black this holiday season, because it’s the best way to invest in your community and yourself. As people of color, we have always been cultural influencers with incredible consumer power, incomparable creativity and remarkable beauty, but these attributes haven’t translated into economic power. I strongly believe that people need each other. So it’s important for me to see more of our consumer power transform into economic power. We can all achieve upward mobility together if we buy black.

How do you pay it forward within your community?

We pay it forward within our community by providing a safe and judgement-free environment for people to de-stress. Whether our classes are in Queens or on Wall Street, all demographics are welcome. Our class members come from all over the United States, from Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles, California, to even international countries like Thailand and Turkey. We also offer free classes to high school students and provide mentoring opportunities as needed.

What is your business mantra?

Our mantra is to reinvent exercise with trap music and creativity. We tell all of our plugs (our participants) that if you can’t keep up with the moves, then do it your own way, because “trappin” to us is about finding your own way. It’s about resilience and the spirit of the underdog!

Kimberly Wilson is a writer and social media director at theGrio. Follow her on Twitter.

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