We’ve profiled a number of female-identified activists who are taking over social media platforms with their compelling messages of compassion, propelling the movement forward with vegan and animal-rights initiatives. But in recent years, another section of the population—who were once lagging behind the vegan curve—are having an equally significant impact. While meat remains a stable hook on which some men still hang their gender identity, these seven vegan influencers are smashing stereotypes by refusing to live by the notion that eating animals equals masculinity and muscles. Plus, as men of color, they are uniting the vegan community in its awareness of intersectionality by working to make veganism more inclusive. You’ll want to pull out your phones and double tap on the following Instagram profiles immediately.

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Ayinde Howell
A Los Angeles-based vegan chef and actor, Ayinde Howell was once considered the “weird kid” because he was raised vegan and homeschooled. Now, he curates the I Eat Grass account that is a foodie-lover’s dream come true, right down to his veg-famous “mac and yease” spiked with jalapeno and tempeh bacon—a plant-based version of his great-grandmother Mary’s Sunday supper which is available at select Whole Foods hot bars. A former personal chef to musician India Arie, Howell’s mission is to position vegan food as a convenient and satisfying option for all, including children. He is the founder and publisher of the accompanying iEatGrass website and author of The Lusty Vegan cookbook.


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Torre Washington
Bodybuilding pro and longtime vegan Torre Washington is the furthest thing from a vegan stereotype, yet he wears his compassion for animals on his sleeve like no other. Washington describes himself as a Rastafarian committed to the philosophy of living off the land, which includes an abundance of fruit and veggies that fuel his hardcore workouts. This fitness coach is a prime example of how a super-strong, sculpted bodybuilder can compete—and win—fuelled only by plants. Just looking at his steady mix of progress and fitness-related photos will have you wanting to hit the gym just as hard, so you can look and feel just as good. His motivating messages about becoming your “best self” don’t hurt either.


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John Lewis
The tall guy with the big smile, vegan athlete and entrepreneur John Lewis—otherwise known as the Badass Vegan—isn’t the type to preach to his audience. Instead, he leads by example, demonstrating that you can still be a badass black man while also following a compassionate vegan lifestyle. Lewis’s feed is full of hilarious quips such as “I want to be the reason you look down at your phone and smile. And then walk into a pole,” referring to those who walk and text, along with motivating thoughts about being the person you’ve always wanted to be. Coming to veganism from a health perspective, after his mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, Lewis is passionate about sharing his knowledge about the plant-based lifestyle with underrepresented communities. As such, he is working on the forthcoming feature-length documentary Hungry for Justice, which explores the connection between veganism, food justice, and hip-hop culture.


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Bryant Terry
Vegan eco-chef and cookbook author Bryant Terry is another advocate for creating a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. Currently chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, CA, Terry works to create programs that celebrate the intersection of food, farming, health, and culture within the communities that descended from Africa. His most recent book, Afro-Vegan, celebrates the rich cuisines of Africa, the Caribbean, and the South with a remix of vegan recipes that take you on an international food journey. Terry’s Instagram feed captures the relevance of his work, his family, which includes his wife and two daughters, and a sprinkle of vegan food porn for good measure.


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Dominick Thompson
Vegan activist and multi-sport athlete Dom Thompson was first recognized for his Crazies and Weirdos apparel startup that brings awareness to veganism with T-shirt slogans such as “Clark Kent was vegan” and “Eat what elephants eat.” Thompson’s eloquent and powerful posts highlight the relationship between athleticism and veganism, and the importance of compassion from a male perspective. As a working athlete, Thompson also helps others transition to veganism through his recently created Eat What Elephants Eat Nutrition and Wellness Program. He exudes vegan power while also sharing the odd snuggle fest with his furry dog daughter, Scruff McFly.


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John Salley
John Salley is a retired professional basketball player, actor, and talk show host who, after adopting a vegan lifestyle, turned his passion for plants into a career as a wellness entrepreneur. He is best known as being the first player in NBA history to win four championships with three different teams, but outside of the court, Salley is an active advocate who uses his fame to push the vegan message wherever and whenever he can. Over the years he has channeled his enthusiasm for clean eating into a number of ventures, such as his California-based wine brand The Vegan Vine (who knew some wines aren’t vegan?).


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Jonny Juicer
Just as his nickname implies, Jonny Juicer is a juicing devotee who shares his juicing journey with his 280,000 Instagram followers. His colorful, plant-filled Instagram feed might make your grocery haul look insignificant compared to the exotic fruit and vegetables he shows us (green soursop, anyone?). This tattooed health couch claims to have conquered many lifelong ailments such as severe migraines and stomach aches with juicing and eliminating animal products from his diet. Anyone scrolling through would have no doubt his diet prescription could be the solution to lifelong youth and never-ending energy.

Nicole Axworthy is the News Editor of VegNews who is inspired by the diversity within the vegan community.

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