Feb 7, 2022
What's up Cousins,

Happy Black History Month! 

We at The Cookout love any opportunity to celebrate Black excellence, Black history and Black perseverance. We do that 365 a year at The Cookout though. 

We got some real dope content for you this week. Just because "Veganuary" is over don't mean you can't be getting more in touch with your vegan side in February.

Let's jump into this week's newsletter!

Stay Blessed.

The Cookout

10 Black Celebrities You Didn’t Know Are Vegan

Listen, if your annoying Gen Z little cousin can practice veganism, then so can your favorite celeb. Veganism is heralded for bringing sharper clarity, brighter energy and overall improved wellness to your life, no matter your profession, religion, or cultural background.

For us, the most challenging aspect of going vegan is giving up the animal byproduct of soul food that we know and love. But you know what…we gon’ be alright. Allow  these 10 Black celebrities to inspire you that a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to be a monotonous one.

Colin Kaepernick 

The prominent activist has been vegan since 2016, he told  NBC Sports. Kaepernick now has his own vegan Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor: Change the Whirled. The non-dairy treat is made with a caramel sunflower butter base, complete with fudge chips, graham cracker swirls and chocolate cookie swirls. Kaepernick said we could be vegan, but we still gon’ sin!
Serena Williams 

The best athlete in the world (in our book) has her meals prepared by vegan celebrity chef, Lauren Von der Pool. According to Essentially Sports, Serena has been following the vegan lifestyle to support Venus with Sjogren’s syndrome– and we’re not surprised. Dr. Sebi was telling us for years that a clean diet is the answer to clearing a plethora of diseases within the body. Serena may have hopped on that bandwagon in solidarity, but of course, she knew her body would thank her as well.


Erykah Badu 

From as early as 1997, everyone’s favorite Bag Lady has also been a Vegan Lady– and it’s very on brand. According to One Green Planet, Badu has even appeared in Holistic Wellness for the Hip-Hop Generation, a documentary informing viewers of the ailment aiding lifestyle.


Russell Simmons 

Like Badu, 1997 was also the year of veganism for  music mogul Russel Simmons, who adopted the lifestyle on New Year’s Day, according to Russell Communications. He was inspired by the documentary, Diet for a New America.

Taraji P. Henson

Bollywood’s– (that’s what we call Black Hollywood)– favorite actress became vegan after an on set health scare. She told InStyle Magazine, “it took a doctor in Macon, Ga., to say, ‘if you don’t change what you’re doing, you’re going to get stomach cancer.’ So I switched everything up out of necessity. I want to live. Thank God, because I feel so much better.” We want you to live too Taraji! So happy you made that change.



The former pop diva attributes her #FountainofYouth aesthetic to her vegan lifestyle. Mya has even created a vegan starter kit and invites her fans to participate in a yearly vegan reset challenge!


Ava DuVernay

The film director believes that veganism is a social justice issue. She  tweeted, “like many food trends that seem new, black veganism has historical roots. For a lot of black people, it’s also about social justice and food access. The food we've been eating has been killing us.” Say it again for the people in the back Ava!


Persia White

Yours and our favorite girlfriend is more like her onscreen character, Lynn, than you might expect. White is a staunch vegan practitioner and a 2005 PETA Humanitarian of the Year honoree.



The world’s favorite “bopstar” has been documenting her vegan journey on TikTok, inspiring her audience to give the lifestyle a try. Nature’s cereal, anyone?


Stevie Wonder 

The Motown legend has been seen belting out lyrics about veganism with James Corden. If that doesn’t show his love for the plant-based diet, then we don’t know what does.
Before you knock it, just try it for a week and see how your body feels. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it more than you ever fathomed.

Black Vegans Are On The Come Up 

Oh, so everybody vegan now?
We are running the vegan game, y’all! With popular vegan foodies like Tabitha Brown and Lewis Hamilton, and eateries like Slutty Vegan, the community of Black vegan folk is growing—and fast.
Don’t get it twisted though! Veganism did not start with white lifestyle bloggers. In fact, Black folk were going without animal products long before The Internet’s favorite avocado toast. Many people who know of “veganism,” are also unaware of the term “Ital.” Ital is a Jamaican plant-based diet, stemming from the Rastafarianism movement in the ‘30s. It was, in part, from this holistic lifestyle, that veganism amongst Black Americans came to be.
The plant-based diet took off with the rise of the Civil Rights movement, as it is believed that choosing a vegan-based lifestyle is connected to the civil struggle against racial oppression. These connections can be seen in the phenomenon of food apartheid, which Stephen Satterfield explains, is a phenomenon in which lower-income communities of color aren’t afforded accessible healthy food options. (You may also know it as food deserts).   
For Black Americans, meat and cheese is the base of our soul food cultural cuisines; after all, we were raised on ham hocks and fried fish. Soul food has been holdin’ down the Black community for centuries, and though it is the total opposite of veganism, Black vegans are figuring out how to make  plant-based lifestyles filled with soul.
Black Americans are the fastest growing vegan population. It’s all in the numbers: in comparison to three percent of the population, eight percent of Black Americans practice a strictly vegan lifestyle, according to Pew Research Center. With vegan soul food recipes going viral on social media– (by the likes of Tabitha Brown and SweetPotatoSoul)– vegan takes on our favorite soul foods just got that much more accessible!
Ten years ago, plant based soul food restaurants would have been unheard of. Now, they are amongst the 1,474 vegan restaurants open in the United States. Stopping by a local vegan restaurant is a great way to support Black business and get a taste of the hype for yourself! You never know, it could be the life for you.
If you’re on the West coast, try out actress Tabitha Brown’s newest venture, Kale My Name, in Encino, California. If you’re in New York–*yerrrr!*–  there’s Harlem’s famed Seasoned Vegan, loved for their shrimp po boys! Down South, we got Slutty Vegan, which has taken the non meat-eating world by storm since 2018. Lastly, let’s not forget about our Midwesterners. If you’re in Michigan, Detroit Vegan Soul will hold you down.
If you’re ready to try some of this deliciousness for yourself, you may want to start with these two popular veganized soul food dishes: cauliflower buffalo wings and macaroni and cheese. No, the cheese does not melt like real cheese does, but don’t be difficult– you get the point! Be sure to try these recipes at the next family reunion—and don’t tell anyone it’s vegan until after they eat it.

Recipe: Plantain Curry Over Rice 

2 lightly ripe yellow plantains, peeled and cut into 2-3 inch pieces and halved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger grated
2 mixed bell peppers, chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 medium sized sweet potato, medium diced
½ teaspoon minced Scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 cup medium chopped Swiss chard, kale or spinach
1 teaspoon Kosher salt or to taste
2 cups precooked long grain rice
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Toss the cut plantain in a medium bowl with olive oil, paprika and lime juice.
Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, flipping the plantains over halfway through cooking. The plantains should be lightly caramelized but still partially firm. If the plantain isn’t caramelized enough you can broil it for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the plantain roasts, heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottom Dutch oven. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the bell peppers and ginger and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the peppers have become soft and the ginger is fragrant. Lower the heat if needed to ensure the aromatics do not burn or cook too quickly.
Add the thyme, chopped tomatoes, coriander, black pepper, curry powder and turmeric.
Sauté for 1 minute to thoroughly coat the vegetables and cook the spices.
Add the sweet potato, scotch bonnet, coconut milk and vegetable stock.
Bring the pot to a rolling boil. Once the curry is at a light boil, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Gently stir in the chopped Swiss chard or kale, add in the roasted plantains and season with Kosher salt. Let the greens wilt and cook through. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, taste for seasoning and serve over rice.
Squeeze extra lime juice over before serving.

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