The revolution will be televised — or, in this case, it’s gone digital.
Révolutionnaire was born out of Nia Faith’s dream to democratize the dance industry and to revolutionize “nude” apparel. Now, her and her sister, Justice Faith, are leading the charge to build a platform dedicated to activists and young change-makers who share their vision of making the world a better place.
“For me growing up as a Black ballerina and walking into studios usually as the only person of color, and then going into the dancewear store and seeing a sea of tights and shoes that never matched my skin, but watching my friends be able to go to the store, get their stuff, and put it right on whereas I’d have to go home and dye everything, it made me feel so alienated,” said Nia during an interview with REVOLT. “There were a lot of moments where I felt like ballet wasn’t for me, like there was nothing in it for people of color.”
Just as Nia wanted to throw in the towel and quit dancing altogether, she met a familiar face who confirmed that she was not the only one who couldn’t always see herself reflected in the dance industry.
“It wasn’t until I met Misty Copeland for the first time,” she continued. “I was 12 years old and I asked her to sign my pointe shoes and as she did, the dye was coming off onto her hands and I was like, ‘I’m so sorry that this is happening.’ She told me not to worry and said, ‘The same thing happens to me.’ That’s when I had the realization that if Misty Copeland is dealing with this, and she can’t get apparel and accessories in her skin tone, then what are other Black dancers such as myself supposed to do?’”
Not only does Révolutionnaire include dancewear that’s more inclusive for skin tones that look like ours, but the organization also provides scholarships to dancers in need. Now, one move to shake up the world of dance has expanded into a safe space for young activists to connect, learn, revolutionize and recharge.
“Last summer, [we] were really thinking about how young people were making their voices heard like never before,” shared Justice, who left a corporate job in the middle of the pandemic to become a full partner at Révolutionnaire alongside her sister. “We asked ourselves what would it look like if more young people with a dream of making their community better communities or the world a better place had access to the tools and information needed to truly scale their impact across a variety of causes. With that, we envisioned Révolutionnaire as the social network for change-makers.”
“Nia and I got our start in change making and community work from a really young age just growing up with parents who frankly care about these issues,” Justice continued. “Our dad is a civil rights lawyer in Canada and has worked to represent the families and victims of gun violence. So, marching alongside mothers who lost their sons to gun violence in the city of Toronto or not getting Christmas presents because our parents thought it’d be more important for us to go grocery shopping and prepare meal kits for families in need was our early introduction to activism.”
Révolutionnaire is now the Faith sisters’ way of furthering some of the life lessons that they were taught early on while, at the same time, connecting them with other like-minded individuals who are dedicated to the movement.
“The most rewarding part has been seeing changes being made every single day and logging on to our social network for change-makers to find young people connecting with each other,” said Nia. “This is work that we’ve been doing for as long as we can remember so it’s super fun to work together and I think the great part is that we’re also just alike and we have these ideation sessions that get the ball rolling. I feel so blessed and honored to be in this partnership because it’s amazing to be able to work with your best friend every single day to drive teams together.”
For Justice, the evolution coupled with the community is what starting Révolutionnaire has been all about.
“It’s been incredible to see this movement continue to evolve,” she added. “We built a dedicated hub on the platform that allows individuals to find community within each other and community, at the end of the day — be it small, big or international — is really at the heart of everything that we do. This is the same community that keep us going and that’s definitely another huge rewarding part. We’re all connecting with one another, across geographies, and collaborating on incredible projects that allow us to learn new things.”
To get involved, the Faith sisters encourage people to head over to their website to fill out the online form to their social network for change-makers. From there, they will find a dedicated content library filled with information on causes that range in everything from environmentalism to racial equality, gun and criminal justice reform plus more. On the site you can also find articles that have been penned by their team of activists which span all across North America.
With all that information and work, they also understand that rest is just as vital as anything else in the movement.
“Justice and I have experienced activism burnout and this is something that so many people experience, so we really want to put mental health at the forefront,” Nia shared. “There’s a recharge library on Révolutionnaire with resources that you can use to take a step back and focus on mindfulness, mental health and self-care before jumping back into the revolution.”
Recently, they’ve launched the recharge revolutionary, which serves as a guide for change-makers to practice self-care. For them, activism goes beyond just serving on the frontline at protests, they believe that change-making can take place anywhere.
“You don’t need to go lead a protest to be considered a change-maker and activist,” Nia continued. “Many of us are making change within our families and I think fundamentally we want individuals to recognize that if they’re curious about different issues that are going on in the world, or if they have an idea for how to improve their own circumstances and those circumstances of their communities, they can join Révolutionnaire to explore that idea. They can also use the platform to find resources to take their ideas to the next level. Ultimately, we’re here to support and be a place for individuals and the causes that they care about.”
When asked where they’d like to see Révolutionnaire in the next 10 years, their response was simple. “We want to do so many things, but the answer is to be everywhere,” Justice said. “We want Révolutionnaire to grow into being an education, action, and amplification platform for Gen Z. That’s what we’re working toward at this moment.”
Click here to find out ways that you can join the revolution.