9 Black Politicians, Musicians, and Activists On Why They Don't Eat Meat

As more people adopt a plant-based diet, it becomes clear that vegans come in all shades, shapes, and gender expressions. In fact, studies show that Black Americans are almost three times more likely to be vegan and vegetarian than other Americans. So we went to some of our favorite Black vegans to find out what inspired them to switch to the compassionate side.

PBD Grey

PBD Grey

Hip-hop artist

Once I felt the difference, there was no going back. I feel physically better and mentally clearer. And when I educated myself on the food system and systemic oppression behind it, I realized this isn’t just another diet—it’s an indefinite lifestyle change for the better.

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Dawn Richard/Instagram

Dawn Richard

Singer-songwriter and vegan pop-up Papa Ted’s owner

My father was diagnosed with lymphoma years ago, so he and I decided we’d go vegan together to work holistically and get him healthy. The decision changed our lives for the better, and I’ve been vegan ever since.

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Erika Jordan

Erika Jordan

Founder of @bizerkeleyvegan and community organizer

I am vegan because I can stay true to myself and leave cruelty off my plate. The idea of hurting animals and consuming their flesh has been weird to me since childhood, but then I was introduced to veganism in college and took that leap of faith after watching the ‘Vegucated’ documentary. Being vegan is one of the greatest things I have done with my life—it’s destiny.

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Cory Booker

Cory Booker

US Senator

After being a vegetarian since college, I chose to become a vegan for health, environmental, and animal welfare reasons. I became a vegan to bring my values, my best energy, and my full original self into my own everyday choices. All of us, vegans and non-vegans alike, must confront the serious, deep injustices in our fundamentally broken food system that’s tied to racial, health, environmental, and economic justice. Who we are is best seen in what we do and not what we say or preach.

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Tracye McQuirter

Tracye McQuirter

Author and public health nutritionist

Being vegan for the past 36 years has made me feel free. Because of what I eat, I’m living a life that’s healthiest for me and kindest to people, animals, and the planet. Toni Morrison said that ‘the function of freedom is to free someone else,’ and I fully intend to embody this calling for the rest of my life.

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Angela Means

Angela Means

Friday star and owner of Jackfruit Cafe

Going vegan is the right thing to do on so many levels. We’re not designed to consume anything other than fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The cow wasn’t designed to be tortured, killed, and eaten. And the earth wasn’t designed to sustain animal agriculture.

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Christopher Sebastian

Author and Columbia University lecturer

Veganism is, for me, an act of solidarity. For years, Black people have tried to prove our humanity, never realizing that ‘human’ was not the sole distinction for who deserved to live free from exploitation. When I realized that other animals shared in the experience of systemic injustice, rejecting violence against them was the obvious choice.

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Koya Webb

Koya Webb

Celebrity health coach and renowned yoga instructor

I went vegan because I care about my health, the health of others, and the health of our planet. When I stopped eating processed food, my health improved dramatically, and I found adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet made me feel even better. Now completely vegan, I experience heightened levels of energy, vitality, and clarity every day.

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Genesis Butler

Activist and founder of Youth Climate Save

I learned animals were killed for my food. I didn’t feel it was right that animals had to suffer and die just for me to have a meal, so I told my family I was going vegan. And as a climate activist, I’m vegan because animal agriculture is so destructive to Mother Earth. I’m proud to be an ethical vegan and will stay this way for the rest of my life.

For more on vegan changemakers, read: