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Finding A Black Community In Powerlifing By : Dana Singleton

Sherine Marcelle

Posted on May 28 2019

Finding A Black Community In Powerlifing By :  Dana Singleton

“Chest UP. Head HIGH.”




  1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

Synonyms: group, section, body, company, set, circle, clique, coterie, ring, band, factione

  1. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.


We all have various avenues and roadways upon entering this lovely sport of Powerlifting.  Some of us knew someone that is already in the sport… Some of us went to a meet and the sport piqued our interest…. And some of us, like me, transitioned into it from another sport… mine was CrossFit.

Upon entering something new, you tend to find and gravitate towards “you”. 

As we all know, Crossfit is a predominantly white sport, and I would look for athletes that looked like me.. the Jennifer Hunter-Marshalls.. the Quiana Welches… The Elisabeth Akinwales…

But here I was again, entering another new sport… I transitioned into the sport with my bestfriend (now husband) who happens to be a white male. Together we navigated through training, learning the rules of the sport, the different federations and meeting new people.  However, for me, I was also looking for lifters who may have had the same walk-of-life as me as well as looked like me.  My very own community.

While the sport of Powerlifting is predominantly white, the Powerlifting community has been very welcoming and in my 5-year journey, I have met so many wonderful people from different walks-of-life. However, to find other athletes that look like you, provides a sense of belonging and reassurance…. especially in a sport that can be very intimidating.

The first sister I linked up in my journey was Andrea White. We were doing a RPS meet back in Dec 2013 (I believe) and she was amazing to watch on that platform. She was explosive and strong and she was Black. She was also kind and warm.  Then I did my first USAPL meet in 2014 and in this federation, met awesome sisters such as Kimberly Walford and Mickey Belaineh.  In addition, thanks to social media, my very own “Black Community in Powerlifting” circle grew and they became great sources of advice as well as very good friends.  It would become like a Black Family reunion every time we saw each other at Powerlifting meets.  Good times!  Cheering one another on.  Such a warm, cocoa butter, shea butter feeling.

Having this circle of Black and Brown brothers and sisters in the sport has truly fueled me and provided inspiration, without them even knowing it.  I find myself responding to their social media posts with “#Inspiration“… Because each and every one of them provides Inspiration. And this is the reason for and the need for “Sisters of Powerlifting” -  a resource, a “home” where we can recharge, reconnect and rebuild. Learn. Network. Support.

Having this new support system also gives me a sense of Pride.   With this amazing support system, it now feels good to walk into a Powerlifting meet with the support and love of your brothers and sisters… Chest Up, Head High, proud to represent the community as well inspire and motivate the new batch Black and Brown lifters coming into the sport.  Makes you want to yell “WAKANDA FOREVER!”

Love you all.. now let’s get out there and lift heavy shit!


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  • Maria Jones: May 29, 2019

    Dana, you are an inspiration. It’s wonderful to have watched your growth and transition. You were and continue to always seek knowledge in both sports. You are constantly setting new goals. After reading this article, I found myself saying (and doing), “chest up. head high.” 👊🏽🖤

  • gregg arsenuk: May 29, 2019

    You are a powerfully positive influence to many, and a worthy ambassador of both culture and sport. You don’t lean forward…you charge. And I love you for it.

  • Dana Singleton-Kaplan: May 28, 2019

    Let us all continue to uplift and inspire one another…. that’s what it’s all about. Thank you Sister of Powerlifting. Thank you to the Powerlifting Communit!

  • Jkap13: May 28, 2019

    Great write up babe. Love you. ✊🏼💪🏼

  • Nicole Comer: May 28, 2019

    Great article. I just started powering lifting this year and it’s extremely hard to find folks that look like us. I live here in Clearwater FL and I have yet to find any Sisters that power lift. My trainer (who is also black) is the only person I know that completes (she’s a bodybuilder). That’s the only other person of color that I know that does lifting or bodybuilding. I’m so grateful for this community because I can see folks that look like me that enjoy powerlifting. Again great article!

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