A new multi media campaign called Crystals As Crowns recently launched in Toronto. It’s a groundbreaking black youth resilience media campaign seeking to reduce negative conceptions of self and low self-esteem among black and racialized youth. The campaign includes empowering imagery of youth in control of their futures and rooted in a self-determined imagination, the “Crystal Mind.”
Featuring videos directed by Hyghly Alleyne (The Weeknd / XO) this campaign highlights 10 youth influencers from 10 diverse communities across the GTA (including Jamestown, Rexdale, Black Creek, Jane-Finch, Chester Le, Flemingdon Park, Crescent Town, Mount Dennis, Kingston-Galloway, Crown Point and Jamesville) and Hamilton and highlights their stories of resilience and how they’ve overcome barriers and life challenges.Through poster ads on the TTC, social media videos and radio PSAs, this campaign will reach over 32,000 black youth in the GTA and Hamilton and over 530,000 people across Ontario.
One of those influencers shared how he defied his own odds and why he wanted to be involved with this campaign.
My name is Q Tyler Aarons-Montague. I am the first born of 9 children. Growing up in various low income areas of Toronto an entrepreneurial mind was always an asset for me. It helped keep me out of trouble and allowed me to express my need to help those around me. In fact every venture I started was rooted in helping other people. From the age of 12 I did babysitting, dog walking, shoveling snow, odd jobs. Typical things a young person can do in their neighbourhood to make money.
As I aged my ambitions evolved, I started seeing new problems that could be solved and started flexing my creative muscles to come up with solutions.
At the ripe old age of 15 I started a company called Books By Kids For Kids. It was a fun and interactive way to get kids more interested in reading and writing. By using writing prompts and images to help them tell and share stories, they could connect with other youth and build a network of books made by kids for kids to enjoy. My main goal was to help build reading and writing comprehension in low income neighbourhoods where literacy is often not the focus. Sadly it failed. I did not have the resources and guidance as a 16 year old to make it a reality. So the website was closed, books were canceled and I was on to the next thing.
Fast forward and I am now 17. I am helping elderly folk in my neighbourhood with odd jobs. Everything from cleaning, moving and lawn work, to business development consulting, social media and networking advice. Tyler’s Odd Jobs serviced a large area of Scarborough and helped feed my desire to help people. This was also the year that Body by Chosen had come to Chester Le and were giving free classes to youth on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
It changed everything.
I started training with calisthenics athletes in my neighbourhood. These guys pushed me so hard and they sparked something in me. They showed me that you can use fitness as a way to give back to communities. That same year my best friend’s mom told me that I have the type of personality that would be good for life coaching and that I should pursue it. Then it clicked. Life coaching + fitness = personal trainer. I had the equation down and knew what I wanted to do.
I started studying Kinesiology using an open source university online and applied to college for a 2 year fitness and health promotion program. The summer before the course started is when I had the dream about Release The Beast Fitness. The dream was about a fitness company that was fun, playful, and would make movement second nature. A company that helped you feel like you were a kid again; 5 years old, running around on the playground with no worries. A time before bills and aches and pains, and limiting beliefs. In this dream I decided to start mapping out the business plan. Peeling myself out of bed I stepped to my white board and wrote the business plan. Every step that needed to be taken to make this vision a reality flowed out of me effortlessly. It was as if someone was guiding my hand. In this state of flow something was eating at me, it didn’t feel quite right. It took a moment to decipher what this feeling was.Then it hit me. “Wake up you are still sleeping” the realization gave me a rush of energy. I jolted awake, eyes wide, alert I sprung out of bed. Now in the real world I wrote out everything I could remember from the dream.
When I started my studies the dream got bigger, and after my studies I knew it was time to make it a reality. Release The Beast Fitness was my heart’s song guiding me down a path to help more people in a substantial way.
So what exactly is Release The Beast Fitness?
It's a fitness and wellness company that strives to put you back in your skin, to ground you, while being playful, educational and fun. We strive to help you put your best foot forward in life by helping you build confidence, discipline, and self-mastery. We want to help you become more, so you have more to give back to others. We do this through Blogs, Videos, Podcasts and in-person and online-coaching.
Currently operating out of Toronto, we service folks across the globe from Italy and Chile, to Vancouver and right here at home in Toronto. RTB was launched January 1st 2018 and is steadily gaining traction in the fitness community. We recently partnered with Jack.org and are proud to announce that a percentage of every dollar earned is donated to help raise awareness and educate folks about mental health and wellness. And that is our journey so far. I am excited to see what the coming years have in store.
If you want to share your fitness journey with us and release your inner beast, then check out Releasethebeastfitness.com or follow us on social media @ReleaseTheBeastFitness.
Find more info on the Crystals As Crowns campaign at stolenfromafrica.org.