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Rap Music is Making You Vegan

Do we have any vegans in the house?

These were the opening words of DJ Khaled in the midst of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s On The Run II Tour. Let’s face it. Going plant based has become a growing trend (no pun intended). In light of Black History Month, African Americans are the fastest growing demographic to become vegan. A Vegetarian Group poll showed that 3 percent of African Americans are vegan, and 32 percent of African Americans opt for meatless options when they eat out. Rappers are, in part, to credit for that.

Jaden Smith founded a vegan food truck that caters to the homeless. Jay-Z and Beyoncé offered vegan fans free tickets. Cardi B started a vegan fashion line.

The list goes on: Jermaine Dupri, Erykah Badu, Waka Flocka Flame, André 3000, Common, YG and DJ Khaled have all been a little “vegan curious” in their careers.

In today’s society, media influencers have direct impacts on the way its viewers behave, see themselves and, now, eat. Healthier options are becoming more prominent in the food industry as we learn more about the hormone-injected meat we consume.

Even fast food industries have experimented with the “impossible burger,” or meatless burgers, on their menus. On top of that, Snoop Dogg is an ambassador for Beyond Meat. If you can’t tell already, rap and R&B artists have influenced both the music industry and the food industry.

“Hip hop is the biggest influence on planet Earth when it comes to young people,” said Keith Tucker, a Seattle-based health activist.

Vegan shops and restaurants are popping up all over the map. While some people argue it’s because of the music, others say it’s younger generations trying to evade the obesity, diabetes, cancer and asthma monster that is eating our parents.

“Illness is often a combination of genetics and environment. Well, the one thing I can change, for sure, is my diet,” said Ann Codrington, the co-owner of the Nisani farm.

Codrington advocates that veganism has helped her overcome two bouts of cancer. Through her journey, she has learned the value of real ingredients.

 “If you want to continue to do your art at a high level, fuel yourself with high-quality fuel,” said SupaNova Slom, hip-hop’s “medicine man.”

Vegan culture has been influenced by a number of factors, but the drive to live a healthier lifestyle and the references tied to rap music have played a large role in this movement. The introduction to the 10th Element of Hip-Hop festival in Harlem brought together vegan-friendly and vegan soul food. This initiative proved that food doesn’t have to be fried, buttered or layered with cheese to taste good. Vegan “mac downs” have popularized in cities where cooks compete to make the best vegan macaroni and cheese. Restaurant menus are becoming more inclusive with vegan options as well.

All the signs point in the direction of veganism. In the spirit of Black History Month, it’s important to recognize that veganism is expanding across cultural backgrounds and becoming more inclusive within the black community.

Kalia is currently a journalism major at the University of Florida. She loves getting involved in all things fashion, jamming out to house music beats and traveling to new places. She is currently an active member of the Black Student Union and spends her leisure reading, sketching and working out. You can keep up with all the things she's involved in through Instagram @k.a.li.a.
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