Live Like An Acrobat Podcast Episode 4 Part 1: Black Acrobaticgymnasts Experiences Matter

Part 1

In this multi series episode of Live Like An Acrobat host Shenea Stiletto will bring you powerful stories of black acrobaticgymnasts in an effort to convey to listeners that their experiences of racism, bias, and inequality within acrobaticgymnastics matter. Each special guest, which this first part episode will include Brandon Cephas, Cameron Jones and Jordan Jones, intends to effectuate fundamental change within Acrobaticgymnastics and USA Gymnastics as a whole by sharing their experiences and advocating for radical reform within the organization when it comes to racial injustice.

Please consider purchasing @bcgutsoverfear poetry book A Time For Change: Thoughts of A Simple Black Man offering insights into the #BlackLivesMatterMovement available now on Amazon:


** All proceeds are being donated to the NAACP

I had a lot of hair that I had to get cut because it didn’t fit the criteria of what acrobats should have, and I was a little bothered by that, I understand presentable, but to be your hair can be in a lot of different ways besides just a crew cut hair cut. That was one of the things that actually meant a lot while competing in the sport. 

It was like these are the rules and if you want to do the sport you have to follow these rules. So I did what I was told, because I loved the sport more than trying to have a cultural change at that time. Looking back I probably would have done things differently. 


Live Like An Acrobat Podcast Episode Three: Black Circus Lives Matter


This episode is dedicated to the lives of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberey, and Sandra Bland…because Black Lives Matter

You don’t get used to people questioning if you live in a certain building or a security guard following you around the store in other countries, or when you are costume shopping for your circus act, store clerks constantly asking if you are finished looking so that you can leave, only to ask you if you want a private viewing once you mention which popular circus show you are working with in the country. You don’t get used to hearing the N word backstage, only to be told that they don’t think that way about you because you are a different kind. Or when companies request European looking only performers for contracts and events. Leaving you out of a considerable amount of offers. Or when you are told by artistic directors that you are not really the right look for the job you’ve been booked for, always wondering if they know you’ve heard those code words throughout your career. You don’t get used to commercial agents questioning if you are really biracial because you  are darker than they expect a biracial person to be, someone with mixed European heritage. Or when a client that has hired you tells you that you are lucky you are not that dark as a compliment. 


Live Like An Acrobat Podcast Ep.Two Part 1 &2: Fly Into Fitness with AFB Founder Stuart McKenzie

Part 1

On this episode of Live Like An Acrobat Shenea Stiletto announces her Circuspreneur Blog and speaks with her first ever special guest an innovator in the aerial fitness world Aerial Fitness Bodies founder Stuart McKenzie. Stuart McKenzie is a World Renowned Acrobaticgymnast and decades long Cirque Du Soleil performer. His Cirque appearances include Saltimbanco, Kooza, Kurios, and Mystere. He most recently launched his online aerial fitness business ‘Aerial Fitness Bodies’ where he has developed a home & travel friendly hand loop fitness strap for the cirque community & fitness demographics. 


Social Media Follow: @Stustraps





Part 2


Shenea Stiletto: Hi Stuart, or Stu, thank you so much for taking the time to speak on live like an acrobat. How are you today? 

To give a little background  for our listeners Stu and I competed during the same era in acrobatic gymnastics and have known each other for quite some time. Our last professional circus run in was at Cirque Du Soleil’s Headquarters in Montreal when I was intensely preparing for my handbalancing role as the promise in Varekai. I believe you were in creation/rehearsal during that time Stu? 

I wanted to start by saying how grateful I am that you created your coaching platform Aerial Fitness bodies. It’s given myself and other coaches in the circus and fitness communities the opportunity to provide high quality training during such extraordinary times we are living in. Aerial Fitness bodies has been an immediate grounding presence in my life and granted me the support to give grounding to my students as well, which I feel is what is called for during such times,  and as mentors we are vessels for stability and regulating consistency in the lives of others, and that is so important to the overall health of a persons life especially right now. 

I’d also like to express that if it weren’t for Aerialfitnessbodies.com I very well may not have had the inspiration to create the handstand doorknob method. What you and your co- creator Arthur Hong have created has been so beneficial for the greater community in terms of providing them access to our coaching methods during the pandemic and beyond once we become more mobile in the future. So I say thank you again for all of your efforts! 

Stu McKenzie does awesome collaborations with some of the most professional circus artists out there and has a fantastic YouTube page that serves up tons of free content with straightforward and clear instructional tutorials. Check out what AFB is all about and subscribe to his YOUTUBE Page for daily Shoutouts that AFB receives from some of the best in the business.

Aerial Fit Bodies Promo

Stu went viral earlier this year while doing a public stunt with famed photographer Jordan Matter. Watch Stu & and fellow Cirque artists attempt to perform all over NYC during the lockdown. Their efforts gained traction to bring much needed attention to the circus arts industry that has struggled during the pandemic.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton