This year’s BET Hip Hop Awards were full of exciting highlights ranging from Latto’s Song of the Year win to a live performance by host Fat Joe backed by the electric Clark Atlanta University (CAU) Marching Band. One surprise that few expected was a guest appearance by Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole, who was there to show the world that her talents go beyond crafting vegan burgers and running a booming business.  

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The Baltimore-born entrepreneur made an appearance on the show—which was filmed in Atlanta—in the freestyle booth to deliver a message about Slutty Vegan. “Allow me to meet and greet y’all. ATL, Atlanta, out of B-More,” she rapped. “One hundred million out the dirt like the plants I feed y’all.” 

Through the lyrics, Cole pointed to the work she does through her Pinky Cole Foundation to help build generational wealth for communities of color, including gifting LLCs to this year’s graduating class at CAU, her alma mater.

“Biggie looking over my shoulder, that’s gold energy,” Cole rapped. “You thought I was selling food? Giving back is a must. Saving lives is important to us. We buy the block, then we level it up.” 

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The 34-year-old delivered lines that cleverly used the names of burgers on Slutty Vegan’s menu to speak about growing her family with fiancé and fellow restaurateur, Derrick Hayes. “I worked him like a Dancehall Queen and now he loves me,” she rapped. 

Cole ended her BET appearance with a surprise announcement. “Slutty Vegan scalin’ now,” she rapped. “Harlem, world, coming soon.” 

Slutty Vegan takes on New York City

Cole started Slutty Vegan as a food truck in Atlanta in 2018 and has expanded the business to great heights, with new locations spreading throughout Georgia and beyond fueled by a $25 million investment Cole raised this summer

And Biggie is actually looking over Cole’s shoulder because Slutty Vegan’s first NYC outpost in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood—where a large-scale mural of the late musical artist is painted on an exterior wall—opened last month with a block party of epic proportions.

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Here, a massive crowd of people, many of whom camped out early to get a taste at Slutty Vegan’s grand opening, partied alongside balloons, bouncy houses, live music, and Cole herself—an event Eater NY called “sexy meatless chaos.” 

On the heels of her first NYC outpost, as Cole teased in her BET performance, the entrepreneur is already looking to expand to Harlem next month. This NYC neighborhood carries special meaning for Cole as it is where she first got into the restaurant business with a Jamaican American restaurant that was informed by her heritage. Unfortunately, Cole lost the restaurant to a devastating fire in 2016.

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With the eighth outpost of Slutty Vegan, Cole will make a triumphant homecoming to the neighborhood, bringing with her a message of perseverance and a menu filled with playful and provocative vegan burgers such as the Sloppy Toppy, One Night Stand, Fussy Hussy, and Heaux Boy (pictured). 

“This is a full circle moment for me,” Cole said.

“I had a restaurant a few blocks away that was destroyed in a grease fire,” Cole said in a statement. “To come back to the place that helped me get started is such a big deal for the realization of my dream, and this quite frankly is my redemption story.” 

The Slutty Vegan empire

When she’s not making beats or burgers, Cole is growing her Slutty Vegan empire in other ways. This summer, Slutty Vegan partnered with Steve Madden on reimagined versions of the footwear brand’s classic POSSESSION sneakers and BSETTITUP bag styles made with entirely vegan materials and accented with the burger chain’s vibrant color palette. 

At Costco in the Southwest and Midwest regions, the debut Vegan Spinach Artichoke flavor of Pinky’s Dips has been flying off shelves with additional flavors in the works. 

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Amid all the commotion, Cole found time to do a photoshoot with her children, newborn DJ and toddler D Ella. The trio appears in a new food justice campaign for PETA that urges the government to redirect subsidies for animal products to low-income areas so that they can have access to fresh produce. 

“I want my children to understand that you can live a cruelty-free lifestyle and it can taste good,” Cole said during the campaign. 

“I’m very mindful of the food that I consume, and I’m also mindful of the food I’m gonna give my children,” she said. “And I’m excited that they get the opportunity to grow up this way.”

Next month, Cole is also heading out on a tour to promote her forthcoming book Eat Plants, B*tch which will feature stops in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Baltimore. 

And as her empire grows, Cole is always working to help others succeed through her nonprofit, under which she and Hayes recently spearheaded Square 1: The Liife Experience, an initiative to provide life insurance policies to 25,000 Black men by December 2023.

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