“You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.” — 2 Corinthians 10:7
When the idea of Shazzy Fitness first started to form in my mind, I knew I needed to learn a lot, do a lot of research, and of course, have a lot of faith. At the core of the business concept was this hole that I saw in the fitness industry. It as a hole that wasn’t new or unknown, but for some reason had seemed to be ignored, at least thus far. The notion that music and fitness were a perfect match wasn’t by any means new. In gyms and aerobics centers all across the country, people were flocking to Zumba classes surprisingly not so much to lose weight, but much more because of the ‘fun-factor’ and the popular Latin music. Ask any Zumba enthusiast about why they love it, and they’ll tell you it’s the moves and the music. That’s it, plain and simple. Sure, having a good instructor helps, but in my opinion, once you master the moves, the instructor in a lot of ways becomes irrelevant.
I took a spin class, sometime around 2002, and much to my surprise the instructor played only urban gospel music. Urban gospel is also known as ‘R&B’ gospel, because aside from the lyrics, much of the production and overall sound is very similar to secular R&B music. So, my spin teacher, puts on a Kirk Franklin track, and all of a sudden my enthusiasm for the workout shot WAY up. Now instead of thinking about how much pain I’m in, I’m thinking about how good God has been to me, how grateful I am to be alive, how it will really all be OK.
And so it was born. Not a new idea of course. I’ve found many, many women and men who lead fitness workouts set to Christian music. It’s not the norm, but it’s not impossible to find either. These programs tend to use more mainstream Christian music – praise and worship music, or traditional gospel music. I suspect that these instructors had at some point discovered, as I did, that there is a demand for this kind of fitness product, but there are very little choices out there to fill this demand.
Over the years, hip-hop music has grown from an underground genre to one of the most popular and profitable music genres around today. Go into any city nightclub and you’ll find that most of the dance music is dominated by hip-hop beats, and similarly the most popular group fitness classes typically consist of choreographed exercises set to a mix of hip-hop music.
The popularity of hip-hop music has begun to gain traction in the Christian music genre, albeit slowly. Gospel Music Association (GMA) published in its annual industry report that music statistics indicate Christian rock and hip hop songs account for approximately 25% of all Gospel music sales, with Gospel music posting double-digit sales growth, which is only seen to rise as churches seek to grow membership by attracting and retaining youth and adults by employing diverse music ministries.
There is still a lot of resistance. SO many people still afraid of it, still uncomfortable with it, don’t understand it and so, they condemn it. But, bringing souls to Christ isn’t limited to a specific genre of music. Christian hip-hop is here to stay. And Shazzy Fitness is oh SO glad about it!
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