Black History Month is a time to honor the all-too-often unpublicized accomplishments of Black people throughout history.
This exclusion isn’t just from history books or Hollywood films but often from our movement.
Here are 15 amazing Black vegans changing the world for animals.
Mýa is an American R&B and hip-hop singer. While many know her from her hit song “My Love Is Like... Wo,” they might not know that the artist is also a longtime vegan and animal rights activist. Mýa is a proud Mercy For Animals supporter, having attended our annual Hidden Heroes Gala, posed for the cover of CL magazine, and participated in our campaigns. She truly is a voice for animals!
2. Taraji P. Henson
Award-winning actor Taraji P. Henson, best known for her roles in Hidden Figures and Empire, decided to go vegan because of health concerns while shooting her 2019 film The Best of Enemies.
3. Brenda Sanders
Brenda Sanders is a food justice activist from Baltimore, Maryland, who advocates social and environmental justice as well as animal rights.
Sanders hosts a monthly vegan support group, organizes Vegan SoulFest, manages community gardens in an economically depressed neighborhood, and is a founding member of Pep Foods Inc.
On the matter of veganism, she said:
I’m convinced that empathy and connectedness will be the real keys to replacing the current animal-based food system with a plant-based one. When we as a culture begin to value living beings more than selfish desires, the whole world will change for the better.
The former Black Eyed Peas singer went vegan in 2018, famously tweeting he’d joined the “V-Gang.” Since then, the singer says his health has improved and he has become an outspoken vegan.
5. Colin Kaepernick
Kneeling during the national anthem to protest oppression of people of color is just the beginning of Kaepernick’s activism. The athlete started the Colin Kaepernick Foundation to “fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.”
By going vegan in early 2017, the athlete made clear that he would not be silent while anyone, human or nonhuman, was oppressed.
6. Genesis Butler
Not yet a teenager, Genesis Butler is making waves in the animal rights movement. In May 2017 at the age of 10, Butler became one of the youngest TEDx speakers ever. Her talk schooled the audience on the link between consuming animal products and harming the environment and how veganism can save the world.
7. Dr. Baxter Montgomery
Dr. Montgomery is a cardiologist in Houston, Texas, and is literally saving lives with a plant-based diet. At Montgomery Heart & Wellness, the practice he founded in 2006, he treats and helps prevent heart disease, performs a range of medical procedures, and mentors young physicians. He is also a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Texas and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.
8. David Carter
Former NFL lineman David Carter was one of the first NFL players to go vegan while still playing. Now he advocates a vegan lifestyle, going by the nickname the 300 Pound Vegan.
9. Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis is a British singer-songwriter well-known for her animal advocacy. A longtime vegetarian turned vegan, Lewis has joined forces with various animal rights organizations, including MFA. In 2017 the artist attended MFA’s Hidden Heroes Gala to help present our Compassionate Leadership Award to Diane Warren.
10. Bryant Terry
A James Beard Foundation Leadership Award-winning chef, Bryant Terry is dedicated to helping create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. He is also an educator and author, having written several popular vegan cookbooks, including Afro-Vegan and Vegan Soul Kitchen.
11. Dr. A. Breeze Harper
Amie Breeze Harper holds a doctorate in critical food geographies. Creator of The Sistah Vegan Project and editor of the book Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society, she is not only a writer but a speaker and a consultant with Critical Diversity Solutions.
Dr. Harper’s work focuses on how systems of oppression, namely racism and normative whiteness, operate in the U.S. She uses food and ethical consumption cultures in North America to explore these systems. Dr. Harper recently worked with MFA to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion topics.
12. Omowale Adewale
Founder of Black VegFest, Omowale Adewale is a social justice activist working to address socioeconomic and political issues of the Black and Latinx communities while ensuring inclusiveness.
In an interview with MFA about the importance of Black VegFest, Adewale explained:
I don’t try to be perfect. I strive to be consistent connecting the struggles of all animals globally, and that includes humans. And it will take the work of activists around the world developing a more compassionate system.
13. Aph Ko
Founder of Black Vegans Rock, an awesome website that spotlights Black vegans and builds Black vegan community, Aph Ko is a must-watch activist. One of IndieWire.com’s 10 Creatives of the Year and recipient of the 2015 Vegan Anti-Racists Changemaker of the Year Award, Ko also wrote a groundbreaking article that highlights 100 Black vegans.
14. Chef Babette Davis
Chef Babette Davis is a 67-year-old vegan goddess. She is owner of LA vegan restaurant Stuff I Eat and co-founder of the “Love Ur Age Project,” which promotes successful aging through a healthy plant-based lifestyle. Davis is the author of Cash in on Cashews, a collection of 50 vegan recipes using cashews! When she isn’t cooking up a storm in Inglewood, you can find her advocating vegan school lunches in LA school districts.
The vegan songwriter and rapper from Atlanta performed at MFA’s Circle V festival in 2017. And he’s been very outspoken about the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
Not yet vegan? Check out ChooseVeg.com for tips, tricks, recipes, and more.