The “sharks” on Shark Tank have seen many things but never have they “got lit while they get fit.” It would take the energy of a Southern University grad, a former member of their “Human Jukebox,” to get the sharks moving. On Friday Shark Tank will witness the fire of “JiggAerobics” and in doing so, all of the HBCU (Historically Black College) dynamism the show can stand.
JiggAerobics is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-fitness sensation. JiggAerobics exercise classes are “fitness parties” that blend “jiggin” with plyometrics, for a total body workout. It’s also very Black, in its roots. Jiggin is a hip hop dance birthed in the Black community of Baton Rouge, where Southern University is located. JiggAerobics, in fact, was actually birthed on the campus of Southern University, a world renowned HBCU. What was once a fun fitness hobby on campus became a movement and then a viable business. Its founder, LaDonte Lotts, is now focused on making JiggAerobics a mainstream success.
Lotts is a native of Houston with humble roots. He grew up in his great-grandmother’s home, where six different families shared one roof: he slept on a couch for a full five years of his life. He started taking dance classes at the age of 8 but after a few years it became too expensive. Rather than subject his mother to additional financial strain, LaDonte told his mom that he could learn dance techniques from YouTube videos. LaDonte learned to dance well enough that he earned a scholarship to Southern University, where he was not only a member of the world famous “Human Jukebox” marching band but also, dance choreographer for the band. It was LaDonte’s introduction to jiggin, however, that changed it all: he’d danced all of his life but never to the point of pain.
When he first tried to jigg, LaDonte cramped up. He knew quickly that this dance move was not only fun but could also help people “get lit while they get fit.” In his sophomore year, LaDonte started doing classes on campus with just a handful of people. By next semester, JiggAerobics classes were being held in the gym. By year two, LaDonte had been featured in the Wall Street Journal and was fielding requests from gyms across the country for him to do classes. He eventually incorporated the business and began securing trademarks. LaDonte is now ready to introduce JiggAerobics to the world on national television and the only question now is whether the world is ready for this HBCU man.