Popular entertainers whove turned to veganism (including Beyoncé, pictured, and husband Jay-Z) are apparently influencing the African American shift towards a meatless diet
Popular entertainers who've turned to veganism—including Wu Tang Clan, Beyoncé (pictured), and her husband Jay-Z—are apparently influencing black Americans' shift towards a meatless diet KEVIN WINTER / GETTY IMAGES ENTERTAINMENT

A January 24 article in the Washington Post notes that eight percent of African American adults consider themselves vegans—the highest among all demographic groups in the U.S. Overall, only three percent of Americans identify as vegans, according to a 2016 survey by Pew Research Center. While these figures are disappointing, a new Gallup poll found that 23 percent of Americans are reducing their meat consumption. And according to the Good Food Institute and the trade group Plant Based Food Association, sales of plant-based products in America increased by 11 percent from April 2018 to April 2019.

The feature's author, Laura Reiley, cites popular entertainers such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan (eight of their 10 members are vegans), Jaden Smith, Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, and Stic.man of Dead Prez as influencers of this shift toward a meatless diet. As I noted in a 2017 Slog post, black basketball players such as Kyrie Irvin, Damian Lillard, and JaVale McGee are leading the movement toward veganism in the NBA.

Reiley also acknowledges the good work done by Seattle-based activist Keith Tucker, who organizes the Hip Hop Is Green dinner, which gathers hip-hop artists and educators in order to raise awareness about health and wellness to young people and families nationwide via group meals with several celebrities. In 2015, Tucker produced the first plant-based hip-hop event at the White House. Tucker credits the rapper KRS-One—who was ahead of his time when he came out with "Beef" from 1990's Edutainment—for shaping his views on diet and health.

Reiley also mentions Oakland MC and "food-justice activist" AshEL Eldridge, a spokesman for veganism, as a liberating ethos. "There’s a huge movement around decolonizing the diet," Reiley quotes Eldridge. "There is disease related to diets heavily reliant on meat and genetically modified crops and monocropping. How do we extricate ourselves from that? It’s revolutionary."

Going vegan also helps the environment, too, which is kind of important, no matter what your race is.