The term veganism is quickly associated with being just a ‘white people thing,’ and to some extent, some people say it is true, but only because the vegan community is currently predominantly white.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 300,000 African-Americans die from preventable diet-related illnesses every year. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol, heart disease, obesity are all responsible for taking many black lives as a result of unhealthy diets.
It is possible that as a result, there has been a growing number of people choosing a vegetarian or vegan diet in the black community. They are on a mission to spread health awareness and challenge the stereotypes about African-American cuisine. Believe it or not: black vegans and vegetarians have existed for quite a while, despite the media’s cliches. They just were never given a voice. Today, many prominent black celebrities are changing that and using their platform to educate and speak about adopting a healthier lifestyle.
“I’ve been vegan for so long.” hip-hop mogul Jermaine Dupri told First We Feast. It all began over a decade ago when he started to watch different shows about how the food was actually prepared. Dupri decided to go on a fast and the way he felt after led him to adopt the vegan lifestyle permanently.
“I used to joke with Jay Z about it all the time,” Dupri continued. “I’d go to his 40/40 Club and there wasn’t much I could eat, so he’d come over all the time and be like, ‘JD, here you come with that vegan shit!’
It was not long before he decided to dabble in the vegan world himself. The day before his 44th birthday, Jay Z took on the 22-day vegan challenge. He even got Bey to join him on his quest. “Psychologists have said it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. On the 22nd day, you’ve found the way.” Hov wrote in a post on his blog Life & Times back in December 2013. This idea would become the center of their partnership with 22 Days Nutrition, a vegan food company founded by their trainer and life coach Marco Borges.
The Carters had everybody wanting to try a plant-based diet, but they are not the only celebrities putting black veganism on the map. In December 2015, rapper Waka Flocka announced that he was a vegan. The Atlanta rapper showed off his weight loss on Instagram, crediting it all to cutting out all GMO products.
He, along with singer-songwriter and fellow vegan Raury, even shared a recipe for vegan blueberry muffins on Vice’s food channel, Munchies (watch here).
In June of last year, rapper YG discussed his decision to go vegan in a Breakfast Club interview. “Just seeing people getting cancer and dying from it, and me hearing that that’s the stuff that we put inside of us is what’s causing this cancer….it was my peoples who passed from cancer. I’m asking around like, ‘Where this cancer s— coming from?’ Everything we eat–the processed food and the stuff they put inside it.”
DJ Khaled, André 3000, A$AP Rocky, RZA, Common…the list goes on of hip-hop artists who have chosen to go organic, and they are feeling great.
Do you think you could make the switch? Try it and see! Leave your comments and thoughts below!