Black vegan. Until recently, this term was considered an oxymoron in many circles. Author and entrepreneur Taymer Mason recalls those days. “When I use to come to North America and visit vegan restaurants, there was always this over presumptuous attitude from white servers that I was not vegan,” says the author of “Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion.”
The truth is, until fairly recently that offensive generalization was somewhat warranted. A 2012 analysis of meat consumption by race listed African-Americans as the leading consumers of meat in the U.S. While there are very real economic, historic, and social implications to this data, the fact remains that for a long-time veganism wasn’t considered a “black thing.”
Attitudes have significantly shifted. In tandem with the natural hair movement and a mainstream resurgence of black sociopolitical consciousness, black veganism has infiltrated the cultural zeitgeist to become a movement of its own in recent years. “In the past, most of the images I saw in conjunction with the health and animal justice movement were white and not relatable to me,” says actress, filmmaker and director of the documentary, The Invisible Vegan, Jasmine Leyva.
“I never saw the dark-skinned, urban chic, size 10 shawty with cornrows eating a vegan Jamaican patty or a Michelle Obama type holding an animal rights sign. They were not put in the forefront of mainstream veganism,” she says. “Luckily, a lot of black vegans are responding to this lack of representation by using social media and hip hop and film to spread this message to people who have been left out of mainstream conversations.”
Thanks to influencers and advocates like Mason and Leyva, the black vegan movement is here to stay. As we enter World Vegan Month this November, let’s continue to support the lesser known brothers and sisters providing inspiration on this vegan path.
Here are five black vegans to follow on Instagram this World Vegan Month.
This Afro-Boricua vegan foodie, Yvonne Rivera, is committed to her plant-based diet. Check out her page for fresh fruits, raw veggies, and delicious looking cooked dishes. Stay tuned for an e-book coming soon.
Looking for good hearty meals with yummy meat substitutes? Check out the Yellow Plate Vegan for soulful vegan food posts on their signature fancy yellow-patterned plate.
The tag speaks for itself. From restaurant shots to homemade dishes, this hungry foodie and recent vegan posts a wide variety of vegan delights.
A personal trainer and health nutritionist, this Nürnberg, Germany native is your go-to lifestyle guru for all around, healthy and meat-free living!
This vegan mom has a knack for creating kid-friendly vegan snacks like these peanut butter, coconut, cocoa apple slices. And, she’s no slouch with vegan chili bowls and savory fall soups.
Kudos to all of these Insta-Vegans.