Vegansim has been a contested site of political struggle for quite some time. Though activists like Dr. Angela Davis, Dr. A. Breeze Harper, and Coretta Scott King have publicly embraced the vegan lifestyle, veganism is still largely framed as a “white” domain.
This is in large part due to organizations like PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] that control the mainstream narrative about veganism, connecting it to whiteness and wealth.
Veganism, as a political struggle for the liberation of animals as well as the liberation of folks of color from the exploitative food production system, is something black activists have been exploring for quite some time now. A lot of mainstream vegan spaces just don’t report it.
A few weeks ago, I read an article lambasting animal rights activists for not “caring” about the Black Lives Matter struggle. The author stated that animal rights activists should care as much about black folks as they do the meat in their sandwiches. Though the author was attempting to discipline white people under the guise of progressive activism, it became yet another article catered to white people about how bad white supremacy is. The author completely ignored black vegans who HAVE BEEN doing the work of connecting exploitation against animals to the exploitation of people of color. For example, the author failed to mention that a couple of months before her article was published, Dr. A. Breeze Harper created an online conference called “The Vegan Praxis of Black Lives Matter.”
The routine exclusion of black folks from articles about veganism results in the assumption that black vegans don’t exist or that our work is only meaningful if white people notice it. This line of thinking undermines the massive amount of labor black people have put forth into animal rights spaces and vegan advocacy.
As a black vegan myself, I decided to shift this narrative by writing a post listing 100 black vegans. It took over three weeks to compile the list, but I thought it was necessary to spotlight some black vegans who regularly went under the radar.
Although I listed 100 vegans, I knew that there were many other black vegans who didn’t make it on the list. Therefore, I decided to spotlight some more below. Here are 5 Black vegans you should know:
1. JoVonna Johnson-Cooke
JoVonna Johnson-Cooke is owner and co-founder of MaituFoods, LLC, a vegan meal delivery service and vegan nutrition education hub. Through MaituFoods, she is working to develop culturally appropriate and accessible educational materials that highlight the benefits of healthy nutrition through a vegan diet. The MaituFoods’ Mother’s Meal Program works to provide women, especially those in modest means households, with the knowledge and guidance to achieve a healthy pregnancy and optimal postpartum recovery through a vegan meal and nutrition program.
The overall mission of MaituFoods is to honor the art of food rituals, and to serve humanity in a way that promotes the least harm and the most good for people, animals, and the environment. As co-founder of Grow Where You Are, she works with a dynamic team of people committed to local food sovereignty by assisting individuals and communities in creating sustainable plant-based local food systems.
2. Donna Green-Goodman, MPH
Donna Green-Goodman has been vegan for almost 20 years and is the author of Somethin’ to Shout About. Her book details her journey with food and wellness as she struggled with aggressive, terminal breast cancer. She reversed breast cancer through a vegan, healthy diet and lifestyle. She runs the stillshoutin.com website where she offers vegan recipes and tips for planning meals. She’s also authored a cook book called Cookin’ Up Good Health which is full of delicious vegan foods.
Nubia is the founder and creator of THEBLACKBERRYBEAUTY which is a sacred healing center. She started this program initially to heal herself of reoccurring womb issues that her doctor couldn’t treat. She noticed that after particularly stressful times in her life, she would experience womb abnormalities, chronic indigestion, heart palpitations, abnormal pap smears, menstrual problems, reoccurring yeast infections, heavy bleeding and other embarrassing womb issues.
Nubia took healing into her own hands, adopting an organic vegan raw foodist diet and incorporating meditation into her life. Because of her journey, she healed all of womb afflictions.
4. Queenetta Moore (“Queenie”)
Queenie is a fitness trainer, specializing in TRX suspension training. She became vegan to optimize her overall health and wellness. In an interview with Bad Ass Vegan, she discusses the negative stereotypes associated with veganism, and shares how her experiences dismantle those stereotypes. She says, “I feel that if we are privileged enough to come to the awareness that our diet will provide a cruelty-free existence for our animal counterparts, better our environment and leave less of a carbon footprint, yet still prevent, heal, and nourish our bodies….then it is our responsibility to share that with the World!” You can follow Queenie on twitter @wrkoutqueenie.
5. Johnee’ Wilson
Johnee’ is the co-owner (along with Brooke Johnson) of the vegan catering company RAW! Inc. RAW! Inc. is an urban mecca of socially and environmentally aware people and businesses. They aim to shift perspectives, challenge social norms, and inspire global change. They recently launched RAW! on Wheels which is a traveling health initiative that aims to spread awareness and provide access to clean and creative plant-based foods. She is a raw food artist and a Humbly, Peax & Love representative. You can learn more about Johnee’s journey to veganism here. Johnee’ is also a lyrical chef. Check out her video:
Who are some of your favorite black vegans? Let us know in the comments below!