Reimagining Our Well-being

A wellness community where individual and collective identity is valued

Founder's Story

The Black Beetles' Origin Story

An average day in the Hinton household would always include my father’s favorite line: “Your health is your greatest wealth.” Every time my father would say this line my brothers and my mother would just look at each other like, what in the world is the man talking about?

Yet, before passing away in 2016, my father and I never got a chance to have one of our “great debates” about his famous Hinton household phrase and the long history of inequity in health within the communities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

I can imagine our conversation would have started with one of his back in day stories, like how the family had to buy what was available at the local grocery store for Blacks in Fort Lauderdale. You see, growing up Black in the 1950s, the concept of wellness was about having a job to put food on the table and exercise came as a proxy of what type of job you had.

Ideally, the ability to workout after a full day of work was viewed as a luxury and something that only wealthy people could do. With this in mind, as I started my own wellness journey, it took me a while to understand how interwoven the concept and notion of wellness was tied to my family’s relationship history with wellness. Samad, you might ask, what the hell are you talking about? Well, as a kid, the concept of fitness was associated with those who were involved in basketball, football, and track & field. My family knew this type of fitness well, especially since all of my brothers and I played organized sports from the age of six throughout high school.

Yet, my understanding of a deeper wellness did not exist because this was something my family didn’t discuss - unless someone passed away. During these conversations, I learned that “so-and-so” passed away due to diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, and a whole list of health related diseases that we know impact the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities at disproportionate rates. Thinking back to those ear hustling moments, it made sense to then see my mother incorporate more healthy options into the household and my father start to go on daily walks. And of course, for anyone who had a father like ours, the occasional I’m gonna hit these weights with y’all young bucks moments.

Fast forward to three months before I turned 39. With almost a decade worth of putting health aside, one morning I woke up in a cold sweat and short of breath. My wife, in a calm manner, spoke to me until I was breathing normal again. After this episode, she asked me an important question: when are you going to start taking care of yourself?This was the first time in my life that I did not have an answer. Because taking care of myself was all about making sure I went to work and kept moving up the career ladder. In the word’s of Gang Starr, “Nobody's invincible, no plan is foolproof...We all must meet our moment of truth.” The moment of truth meant that I needed to leave my unhealthy work environment and to invest in my health. And I did. Two months later, the first task was complete and the time called for me to invest in my health.

My father would always tell my brothers and I that real fitness change comes once you have worked out for one year consistently. Meaning, you followed a workout routine without missing a month. Given that I had never accomplished such a feat, I took my father’s statement and turned it into my primary goal. My wellness journey started with a four-week cardio program and it took off from there. Just as I was getting into the groove of a consistent routine, my wife threw in a new challenge. I just signed up for a half marathon, do you want to join me?

Like any husband in my position, I said sure, let’s run this half marathon in two months! Instantly, my mind and body said to each other, you do know that you can barely run a full block without looking for an oxygen tank, right? I am not sure if I was more intimidated by the thought of running 13.1 miles or training to run for 13.1 miles. Either way, I was not too hyped about running long distances. But like any athlete would, I accepted the challenge of doing something out of my comfort zone. For the first couple of weeks, I seriously had a love/hate relationship with running. However, about a month before the half marathon I began to fall in love with the art of running longer distances. Not just the running part but how going longer distances allowed time to clear anxiety and to enter various stages of meditation.

At this point, I just wanted to be down like Brandy and was ready to find my running community! Then, Ahmaud Arbery happened. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery made me recall my own instances of #runningwhileblack and how what had become a joyful form of fitness for me, had its own set of rules for those us who identify as BIPOC.

It was at this moment that I felt an urgency to join a community of people who looked like me and were unapologetic about talking about the inequities in society and running. After spending time on social media and searching the internet, I was able to find running crews and social media communities here and there. Yet, I could not find an online community platform that was authentically discussing the harms done to Mathias Ometu and Tiffany Johnson, or other barriers impacting wellness in BIPOC communities. Moreover, a platform whereby the importance of representation was woven into the fabric of the mission that allowed like-minded everyday BIPOC athletes to build community and fellowship outside of statistical fitness data points captured in our wellness journeys.

Why does this matter?

Storytelling and community is an essential fabric of identity in most BIPOC cultures. These two necessities are stepping stones in discovering new approaches to self-care and self empowerment in many facets of life, particularly in wellness. As a community, there has been too much historical and present-day evidence of why mistrust exists within BIPOC communities. This is why Black Beetles exists.

To put simply, Black Beetles is here to honor and modernize our traditional approach to wellness, storytelling and community by creating an online community platform for the everyday BIPOC athlete, like my father and myself.

My father was right about so many things. Health is your greatest wealth because agency over your care and empowerment allows you to reimagine the cards you were dealt.

We are Black Beetles! Let’s go!

History doesn't define us, we define it through storytelling

At Black Beetles, we are designed to inspire, empower, and support community members throughout their wellness journey. Through storytelling and other wellness tools, we provide opportunities for community members to build authentic fellowship while collectively creating new and thriving wellness spaces. Community members will have opportunities to access both podcast and written wellness stories, purchase wellness books written by BIPOC authors, and other wellness events held by Black Beetles.

We envision a world where the inequities within BIPOC communities are eradicated. With this vision, our community-centered design approach is focused on putting the well-being of community members from BIPOC diaspora at the forefront in creating a more inclusive, inspiring, and supportive wellness community.


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