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Kenyan fitness retreat blasted for a ‘colonial mindset’

An exclusive Kenyan fitness retreat for female models and celebrities has been slammed as ‘colonial’ after Masai tribes people act as ‘literal props’ in the workout. 

Videos posted on Instagram by exclusive fitness program RussellSBC, the Skinny B***h Collective, show at least four Masai tribes people wearing the traditional Shuka red wrapped cloth.

Standing a metre apart the tribesmen appear to act as markers while the group of white women wearing identical black fitness outfits weave between them. 

Standing a metre apart the tribesmen appear to act as markers while the group of white women wearing identical black fitness outfits weave between them

Videos posted on Instagram by exclusive fitness program RussellSBC, the Skinny B***h Collective, show at least four Masai tribes people wearing the traditional Shuka red wrapped cloth

Videos posted on Instagram by exclusive fitness program RussellSBC, the Skinny B***h Collective, show at least four Masai tribes people wearing the traditional Shuka red wrapped cloth

In other videos the Masai tribes people stand in the background while the women compete in a tug-of-war and reptilian crawl – keeping as low to the floor without pelvis or chest touching and moving along the ground.

The tribes people even jump along as they perform another exercise. 

Russell Bateman is the founder of the Skinny B***h Collective – a program that has previously trained Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger, Laura Whitmore, Florence Welch and Made in Chelsea’s Millie McIntosh and is renowned for intense workouts. 

A host of other famous names in the fashion industry, including Kendrick Lamar's stylist Dianne Garcia, were quick to criticise the videos

A host of other famous names in the fashion industry, including Kendrick Lamar’s stylist Dianne Garcia, were quick to criticise the videos

Posted by diet_prada, an Instagram account that comments on the fashion industry, the caption read: ‘Ummm…happy International Women’s Day? Russell Bateman, the white male mastermind behind the invite-only fitness collective SBC (Skinny B***h Collective), took a gang of seemingly cloned, pony-tailed white women on a retreat in Kenya. 

‘Among the sisterhood-fostering activities like hot air balloon rides, chef-prepared organic meals (that chia berry jam!), and dancing ’round a tree of life, they also managed to use the local Maasai people not only as a backdrop, but as literal props in their fitness routines. 

The program previously trained Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger, Laura Whitmore, Florence Welch and Made in Chelsea's Millie McIntosh (pictured)

The program previously trained Ellie Goulding, Nicole Scherzinger, Laura Whitmore, Florence Welch and Made in Chelsea’s Millie McIntosh (pictured)

‘Some videos have already been deleted, but screenshots appear to show the girls writhing around the locals like an obstacle course. 

‘Booty twisting on Maasai cloth chick deserves special mention…real classy lol. It’s 2019 and apparently people still haven’t learned that POC/ethnic groups don’t exist to embellish already privileged lives. The Colonial mindset is alive and well I guess.’

Videos and photos posted on Instagram were captioned: ‘Celebrating strong women today and everyday. Some of our clients representing International Women’s Day.’  

Supermodel Karen Elson commented: ‘So offensive, who on earth approved such a ridiculous and degrading concept?’

One African woman posted a lengthy comment slamming the fitness programmes attitude towards the Masai tribes people.

She said: ‘As an African woman I am tired of seeing my people relegated to play in the background. 

‘As a Kenyan woman it enrages me to see my people being used as PROPS, being ridiculed in his posts, being used to be their personal “cheerleaders” asking them to perform their traditional jump/dance to add to the ‘atmosphere ‘ of their workouts.

‘This is a tribe that fought for their culture through colonization. This is a tribe whose way of life has been followed for centuries. 

‘This is a tribe still untouched by western standards. And THIS is how they are being used. 

‘THIS is how their friendliness and willingness to share their culture is going to be used. We cannot allow this. 

‘Everyone involved needs to be held accountable, from @russellsbcto the women involved, to the travel company that connected this man with these locals for probably some form of “contribution” that will not even make a positive impact in the community, to the photographer. 

‘My culture is not your prop, my PEOPLE are not PROPs!! we can no longer allow this colonialist mindset to be okay.’

Supermodel Karen Elson commented: 'So offensive, who on earth approved such a ridiculous and degrading concept?'

Supermodel Karen Elson commented: ‘So offensive, who on earth approved such a ridiculous and degrading concept?’

A host of other famous names in the fashion industry, including Kendrick Lamar’s stylist Dianne Garcia, were quick to criticise the videos.

Dianne tagged Vogue Paris in her comment which read: ‘Wow your wellness contributor huh. Shame.’  

The ‘most exclusive fitness class on the planet’ the SBC is ‘nothing short of a global phenomenon’, according to its website.

The website reads: ‘Popular with the A – list and a myriad of supermodels, it lies somewhere between forward-thinking fashionable fitness and a cave-girl sorority.

‘The class is a mixture of high intensity and animalistic movements that completely throw you out of your comfort zone.’  

The Skinny Bitch Collective have been approached for comment. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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