Hip-hop is helping African-Americans to become the fastest-growing vegan demographic in the USA

African Americans are twice as likely to be vegan than other Americans, according to the Washington Post. A mere three per cent of Americans are likely to be vegan according to the article, but that figure is more than double among African Americans.

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey some 3 per cent of American adults identified as a vegan with only 1 per cent of Hispanic Americans doing so. That number rises to an astonishing 8 per cent among African American adults. A recent set of Gallup’s findings on consumers’ meat-eating changes, stated that white people have reported eating 10 per cent less meat in the past 12 months while people of colour reported eating 31 per cent less meat.

This is a trend that Vegans Be The Change has noted before, with for example local initiatives taking place in New Orleans and Dallas. There is evidence too of serious health issues affecting the black community, in particular, being a catalyst for dietary change.

Hip Hop acts promoting plant-based lifestyles

The Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z and various hip-hop acts have burned a trail for the plant-based diet. Eight out of ten members of the Wu-Tang Clan identify as vegan or vegetarian. Others such as Rapper, one-half of the political duo Dead Prez, have followed. As a twenty-year-old, he was once heavily into what his wife called the original hip-hop lifestyle, namely burgers, blunts and booze. He has now been vegan for two decades.

“I had picked up some bad habits, smoking herb all the time, drinking every day in the urban obstacle course,” said, a.k.a. Khnum Muata Ibomu and born Clayton Gavin. “I woke up one morning and my ankle was gigantically swollen, and I found out I had gout. That was my wake-up call. It was a blessing that revealed my path.”

Many African American performers have begun to preach the lifestyle benefits of going plant-based and made lifestyle and business choices to reflect this.

Jay-Z who was listed as hip-hop’s first billionaire by Forbes in 2019 and Beyoncé offered free tickets to fans if they went vegan. Cardi B has started a vegan fashion line of clothing. Meanwhile, the rapper Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, has launched a vegan food truck to help the homeless in Los Angeles.

A$AP Rocky even rapped about becoming a vegan in his recent single “Babushka Boi”.

A health activist from Seatlle Keith Tucker is credited as being partly responsible for the increasing link between hip-hop and plant-based wellness lifestyle. With his radio show, he has pushed back against the stereotyping of hip-hop artists.

“KRS-One was an inspiration for me,” Tucker says. “His song ‘Beef’ in 1990 influenced a lot people in hip-hop to think about veganism, to think about the meat in the slave diet, about the chemicals that were starting to be put in the food and the rise of highly processed foods.”

Let us begin with the cow

The way it gets to your plate and how

The cow doesn’t grow fast enough for man

So through his greed he makes a faster plan

He has drugs to make the cow grow quicker

Through the stress the cow gets sicker

Tucker held his first Hip Hop Is Green dinner in 2009, bringing hip-hop artists and educators together with the goal of bringing health and wellness to youths and families around the USA in star-studded cast group meals. In 2015 he even produced the first plant-based hip-hop event at the White House.

Show More

Jacobus Lavooij

Jacobus is an experienced editor and writer whose interest vegan issues began with understanding the environmental consequences of the food industry. He loves vegan food and is a passionate communicator of its benefits. He is a Dutch national and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. Contact:
Back to top button