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When Jasmine Harper first conceived an idea to help others, it was smaller than what it has become.
The professional dancer who came to fame on “So You Think You Can Dance” before gracing the stage with artists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Usher, wanted to create a way to empower others through movement.
Then she teamed up with her close friends, fellow professional dancer Ashley Everett and publicist Randy Bonds.
“It kind of snowballed,” Harper told CNN. “We just learned that we were all aligned on this wellness journey. We thought, how about inviting everyone else on their wellness journey into a space where we can all just thrive together?”
The trio created Be> (Be Greater), a lifestyle and wellness brand aimed at helping people “liberate themselves from self-imposed limitations” through interactive retreats and workshops, as well as a podcast.
Everett knows all about the limitations others can place on you.
As Beyoncé’s longtime dance captain, she’s come to be known by the Bey Hive (the singer’s hardcore fan base) for her highly visible work, including the iconic “Single Ladies” music video and Beyoncé’s many tours over the years.
So when Everett opted out of joining the “Renaissance Tour” to focus on her own brand, some Beyoncé followers were disappointed.
“I feel like in 2020 [during the pandemic] is when my mindset shifted,” Everett said. “As a dancer, I was just dance, dance, dance my whole entire life. So sitting down for the first time and knowing that I am worth so much more without dance…I don’t have to be on the stage with this person, or do this huge job or whatever, it is to have value in myself.”
Harper, too, wanted to move beyond background dancing. She said she sees herself and Everett as “not in that shadow anymore.”
“Not just with Beyoncé, but just in general,” Harper said. “We have the knowledge, we have the passion behind it. Also, we’re on this journey ourselves. We’re not just preaching it to everyone. We’re also being greater than.”
Harper and Everett both expressed deep appreciation for Queen Bey, though they aren’t currently working with her. Beyoncé even shouted Everett out when she spotted her in the audience at one of her “Renaissance” shows in Atlanta.
As a publicist, Bonds was also used to working in support of his celebrity clients. But talking with Harper and Everett about their wellness goals helped him realize he could expand his work.
“We were having a conversation around what it really means to be humble and if you look up that definition, there’s really nothing that we should strive for at all. Like, it don’t take work to lower yourself. Anybody could do that,” he said. “But to commit to shining your light and being confident and being authentically you, no matter what space you are in. Not walking with your head down, but really boldly walking with your head up and saying, ‘Hey, I belong here’ whether I’m twenty feet from stardom, I’m the main act or the person that’s a supporting act.I play a role here.”
It’s a sentiment at the foundation of the company’s core value: “In a world that often encourages people to dim their light, (BE >) believes that being authentic is a powerful force for change.”
They brought that desire to spark change to Atlanta, Georgia, on a recent Saturday. There the three friends soft-launched their brand with a retreat that encompassed healthy food and drink, breath work, trauma release and conversation about what wellness can look like.
Naturally, Harper and Everett also led participants in some choreography, not just for exercise, but also as a lesson on how to “strut” into confidence.
Participants were encouraged to “think out of the box” in terms of crafting what they need to be their best as opposed to some wellness programs that dictate steps to be taken.
“Wellness to me means intentional lifestyle choices,” Everett said. “Being intentional about your choices and always making sure it is something that is gonna be good for you and benefit you in the end.”
“I think it’s like just saying walking in purpose, on purpose,” she said. “Not taking away from who you are or anything like that, but knowing that you’re so much more than the limitations you set on yourself or anybody else sets for you.”
Aiming to be well mentally, physically and emotionally is not something that should be put off, Bonds said.
“Our intention is to make wellness a lifestyle and make it accessible,” he said. “Because I think too many times we think taking care of yourself is something you’re going to do when you retire. But you are going to involuntarily retire if you don’t take care of yourself now.”
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