I was a former SoulCycle employee. I thought I was going to love the job because it was a well-known cycling studio filled with motivating instructors and employees. However, the company created a perception to trick people in thinking employees enjoy working at the studio.
The day I started working, I noticed that Soul Cycle embodies diversity and inclusion. They believe in opportunity for growth for its employees and like myself, I wanted to transfer from cleaning to front desk. Although I had experience in customer service, I thought I would be a perfect fit to be in the front desk team, since I loved engaging in different cultures. I toured around several SoulCycle studios in New York City and noticed a majority of them had one or two colored employees at the front desk.
They had several candidates for the front desk position. They were having trouble finding someone, so I decided to take initiative speaking with the studio manager about changing my position. “We don’t need a lot of black people on the front desk, one is enough,” a studio manager said. Then, they contacted the Miami studio to get a transfer and hired someone who only fit the front desk look. I decided to leave the job because it didn’t focus on opportunity for growth in the company.
Over the last few days, it was painful to see SoulCycle fundraising Trump’s reelection campaign in the Hampton’s this weekend. A company participating in the reelection where Trump has a strong hatred towards people of color and the LGBT community. SoulCycle celebrated pride month, so why would they celebrate and honor a man who delivers toxic rhetoric? Why respect a man who despises the LGBT community, immigrants, disabled, and people of color?
After reflecting my time at SoulCycle, I think of how I was treated: a threat to its employees because of the color of my skin. I felt like Harriet Tubman reaching over a line, mentioned in Viola Davis’s Emmy Speech, White woman arms stretched out to Tubman, but she couldn’t reach that line. I couldn’t reach to their level because I wasn’t like the front desk, I was on the cleaning staff and was only put there because I was black. It was like every time I walked in the studio, I feel like everyone watched me taking a step of the blue tile floor, making a mark. I was stereotyped in a position that it was the only job I could do. The studio managers didn’t want to help but laughed at us for all our mistakes. They kept telling us they were there for us, but their actions didn’t show it.
My question to SoulCycle: what is my race or was it me?