Having a lot of options is key says this vegan bruh
How long have you been a vegan? As far as not eating as a general practice, I stopped in 2010 a few days before I got married. I spent my honeymoon reading about veganism from a dietary perspective, specifically raw veganism. I maintained a raw vegan lifestyle for over a year and the introduced cooked foods after living through a hurricane that destroyed my community. My sense of veganism as a political position really started back in the fall of 2015 when I decided I wanted to look at veganism as more than a diet or even a lifestyle, but want it to fit with my political beliefs.
Was the transition easy? The transition was easy in practice, but I'm a community organizer, so my livelihood depends on being able to work with a lot of different kinds of people who carry a lot of different beliefs. There was a lot of questioning I had to deal with. Everything from what a vegan looks like, to people thinking I had cancer or AIDS.
Any tips/advice for someone interested in being a vegan? Fasten your seat belt for a bumpy ride. Do a lot of research. See a dietitian who would be supportive of that transition. If you don't have access to too many resources, do it in a community of supportive people who can help you provide social connections and share recipes. Having a lot of options before you start is key to avoiding that sense of feeling deprived. Veganism is abundance.
What's your favorite vegan recipe? My morning smoothie usually dark greens (kale, spinach, collards, and dandelion) banana, fresh squeezed orange juice, and ginger root. That recipe is a close tie for favorite watermelon cut in half and a spoon.
Black male vegans/vegetarians are rare but seems to be growing in popularity. Why do you think that is? I think there are plenty of African cultures where not eating meat is typical. I think mainstream culture is finally giving credit to African people fro doing what was probably done in Africa when people had access to all of the best fruits and edible plants for several thousand years. There was little need for meat to support human life. We are everywhere and have always been everywhere. I think the world is finally ready to see us.
Vegans are sometimes known for being extreme. What's the one thing you want people to know about vegans? Extreme. Marching an army of cows onto a killing floor, cracking their skulls with sledgehammers, and them hoisting them up by hooks is moderate I suppose. I can't speak for vegans. I barely qualify as vegan as I don't label myself that way even though I practice what would be called veganism. The only quality I think vegans share is a general practice to not eat meat, even though there are some fish and egg eaters as well as diary consumers who are calling themselves vegans.
I would say , "Don't let the label fool you". There are vegans who fall into every other social type imaginable. Be open to the unexpected for better or worse.
Has it had an impact in other areas of your life? As an activist I have had to fold my analysis of the animal commodities industry into the way I talk about social justice in general. Making the connection between animal oppression and other types of oppression (white supremacy, patriarchy, homophobia) has been a challenge but has also brought a lot of pleasant surprises. I share that on my YouTube channel when I can.
Is there anything you like to add? Thanks for making the connection and giving me the chance to share some thoughts with your audience. I hope people will check out my theater company Red Hook Theater , my YouTube, and my Detroit project. I really appreciate the support.