Highlighting Black Women in Wellness Spaces: Marsha Jeune
Every month is Black History Month here at AATC and we will continue to honor the amazing work done within the mental health and wellness spaces. Today we will be focusing on the wellness/holistic spaces. In the last several years there has been an influx of black wellness advocators and creatives that are being recognized for their knowledge, creativity, and compassion. Wellness is not whiteness anymore; it's a space for anyone to practice self-care, healing and share their own journey to create impact.
Health & Wellness in Black Spaces
Today we are highlighting community Health & Wellness advocate Marsha Jeune, a lifelong resident of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Marsha is a Health & Wellness advocate / Postpartum Doula and the owner of the wellness online store, Hibiscus Moon Apothecary. An apothecary is a store that specializes in wellness and health-related items. Marsha particularly specializes in elderberry and sea moss which are available for purchase on her website. Marsha is very passionate about health and wellness. According to Marsha, "Wellness to me means taking back your power. Taking back your power by learning about your history and breaking generational trauma, changing your diet, and understanding the importance of mental health and how it affects our community. I think that it's important for black people to take their health seriously in this lifetime to set the tone for future generations."
In a 2020 article by The Cut aptly titled, "Wellness Doesn't Belong To White People", the author, Kelly Gonsalves discusses how the wellness industry has been predominately spearheaded by white people and white businesses from Goop to Lululemon. The article also discussed the rampant racism within the wellness industry. We encourage you to read the full article here. The article does an excellent job exploring how black people specifically women are overlooked within these spaces and the stereotypes that individuals within these spaces face. In a broader picture, it often feels that the wellness/health spaces aren't meant for black people. Thankfully in the last several years, this stigma has been slowly eroding and there has been an influx of black people entering the wellness/health spaces. Marsha is just one of the many women who stepped fully into the wellness spaces and began making changes within herself and within her community.
Marsha began her journey from a young age and has turned that passion into not only a career but a calling. "Growing up I lost a lot of family members to illness and disease that I felt could have been cured if they simply had access to better foods and resources. In communities where the population is mostly black and brown, finding access to healthy food, a safe place to exercise, or a good therapist that understands black people can be difficult. I saw this pandemic as a blessing and a curse although it stopped one aspect of human connection, it allowed me to create a safe space online to connect with everyone and promote wellness simply by reminding people who follow me how important it is to START YOUR DAY WITH YOU."- Marsha
"Black women have created platforms to promote wellness and self-care within the black community." LEAH THOMAS
An important element of being a Health & Wellness advocate is being able to create a safe space for individuals. Marsha integrates wellness and community very seamlessly as she initially started a food blog, Love Breakfast, in 2014. That quickly grew into a curated monthly meet-up where she brought women together to share discussions and support for each other over meals. Connection is very important to Marsha, "I loved connecting with women so much I started curating brunches around our mutual interests such as astrology, self-care, and mental health." In Spring 2018, Marsha become a certified Perinatal Doula through 'Earth's Natural Touch Birth Care and Beyond'. During her time certifying to become a doula, she learned more about herbal medicine. Growing up in a Haitian household she was already familiar with herbal medicine. "My mother tended to find alternatives to heal our ailments instead of bringing us to the doctor every time we felt an ache or pain. There was always an oil to apply, a bitter tea to drink or whatever latest tincture she had concocted for the next cold and flu season." This led Marsha to start her online apothecary, Hibiscus Moon Apothecary. "I infused my passion for culinary science into my work as a Doula and opened an online apothecary in March 2020 to help serve, educate and guide black people into being more health-conscious mentally, physically, and spiritually."
It is refreshing to see black women being present within the wellness/health space and providing necessary resources to our communities. It is vital that these spaces exist as it provides safety and comfort. Individuals like Marsha, help to create a place where other people of color can relax, pursue wellness and healing without having to feel judged or feeling out of place. When you go on Marsha's Instagram it is filled with information and guidance on self-care, healthy recipes, education on natural remedies, and ways to improve overall health and wellbeing. "I believe that leading by example has been my best method, using my online presence to share my knowledge to guide people into making better decisions by providing healthy recipes, self-care tips, and mental health resources."
Communities like Bridgeport, deserve individuals like Marsha to provide wellness services for us, by us. To find out more about her amazing work or to get in contact with Marsha please check put her information below:
Marsha's Instagram: @eccentric.sol
Hibiscus Moon Apothecary Instagram: @hibiscusmoonapothecary