New documentary The Invisible Vegan premieres tonight at The Colony Theater in Los Angeles. The 90-minute film features African-American vegan activists—including comedian Cedric the Entertainer, former NBA star John Salley, hip-hop artist Stic from the band Dead Prez, medical doctor Milton Mills, and many more—and explores how plant-based eating intersects with race, class, and gender. The Invisible Vegan is co-produced by actress/vegan advocate Jasmine Leyva, who addresses the health afflictions—such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes—that affect the African-American community, and how these diseases are related to unhealthy, animal-centric diets. “I grew up in Washington, DC, eating the standard American diet,” Leyva says. “I initially identified veganism as a white thing. It was because I didn’t know my history. All I knew was we turned scraps into soul food, and I thought that was our only culinary legacy.” The film establishes how foods African-Americans have eaten in the United States are far removed from their heritage of West African cuisine—which relies mostly on plant-based foods. With this documentary, Leyva exposes the discriminatory marketing techniques of the meat and dairy industries aimed at African-American consumers and inspires the community to choose plant-based foods to regain control of their health. Last year, vegan activist and author Tracye McQuirter (who is featured in the film) partnered with animal-rescue organization Farm Sanctuary to create the African American Vegan Starter Guide as a tool to help communities of color join the vegan movement.
Love the plant-based lifestyle as much as we do? Get the BEST vegan recipes, travel, celebrity interviews, product picks, and so much more inside every issue of VegNews Magazine. Find out why VegNews is the world’s #1 plant-based magazine by subscribing today!