With so many yoga studios competing for students, theme classes such as rock-and-roll yoga or black light yoga, are becoming more common. But some critics say one studio in Santa Barbara, Calif. might have taken things too far with a “ghetto fabulous” themed yoga class.
Power of Your Om studio advertised a hip hop yoga class as a “Ghetto Fabulous Yoga Event” and asked students to “come dressed in your favorite ghetto fabulous outfit, snap-back caps, corn rows, heavy lip liner or whatever you dream up." It also links to a WikiHow article called “How to be Ghetto Fabulous.” (You can view the ad here.)
A dialogue erupted on the studio’s Facebook page with critical comments accusing the event of being racist and insensitive. “This is mocking a culture you are not a part of for personal gain. It’s rude, hurtful, and racist,” wrote one commenter.
The studio apologized for being offensive and changed the name of the class to “Hip Hop Yoga,” but said it plans to continue to do themed classes that may include various types of music/genres. “We have made note focus on the music versus singling out any group of human beings that has the potential to offend others as that was not our intention,” was a part of the response on the Facebook conversation.
But that didn’t satisfy commenters who objected to the whole idea behind the class. “Changing the name is, pardon the pun, a form of white-washing. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves,” wrote one.