Shaun T is known for his upbeat and motivating personality in the fitness world through his workout programs such as T25 and Insanity. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, he felt compelled to share his experiences as a Black man in an episode of his podcast, Trust and Believe, titled "Why Black Lives Matter."
As a fitness motivator teaching all over the world, Shaun said he's always had the intention of lifting people up and inspiring them to push hard. But with all the pain that's hit America in the last couple of weeks with the racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and the responding protests, Shaun said, "a lot of internal feelings started to just fill up in my gut, in my core."
Shaun wants you to share what you learn from this video with everyone you know to help explain why Black people are so passionate about the Black Lives Matter movement and why the message isn't "all lives matter." He said that if you aren't someone who understands why people are protesting, this episode may help you understand "the anger, the sadness, the pain, the emotion, the different levels of emotion, the different opinions and feelings that Black people have as we go through this terrible time."
He brought up the house-on-fire analogy you may have already heard, made popular by cartoonist Kris Straub (@krisstraub): if a house is on fire in your neighbourhood, when you call the fire department, you don't want them to spray water on all the houses, you want them to spray the house that's burning. He said, "We want to take care of our neighbourhood in general, but when there is a house on fire, and no one wants to acknowledge that the house is on fire, that's where the pain begins. And that's why we say 'Black lives matter, too.'"
He explained that Black people aren't just reacting to the tragedy of Floyd. They're reacting because their great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents have also been through racial discrimination, violence, and hardship, and their ancestors have been through even worse. So in seeing what happened to Floyd, Shaun said Black people are seeing and reacting to hundreds of years of pain.
He went on to describe some experiences he had in his childhood because of being Black, how his family taught him that he had to leave his house "acting right" and felt his culture was something he couldn't openly show or celebrate. He also shared personal experiences with racism when travelling, going into stores, and driving and the fear he has for his life and his children's lives.
This podcast episode is about 40 minutes long, and it's important to watch the whole thing to really hear his experience and message. Heed Shaun's advice and take notes, and share this episode with everyone you know.