Category Archives: afrikan vegans

Kinda speciesist…

I’ve had trouble updating this blog for a while since I realize I no longer want to discuss just plant-based diets up in here. I’ve come to admit that Afrikan liberation at large – organizing for it, articulating it, propagandizing for it – is of more consequence to me than only advocating that we black folks eat plants.

See, the thing is, as oppressed people, in so many places where we are, we don’t have access to affordable and sound whole foods and produce in the first place. It’s not affordable or accessible to those of us who pull in little income despite busting our asses the hardest, and furthermore live in “food deserts.” Our pro-corporate food systems subsidize cheap empty calories (corn-based processed food-like substances) at the expense of whole fruits and veggies, which are overpriced. So it is not easy to advocate, as one’s sole agenda, a vast black vegan renaissance, when most Afrikans will have a hard time funding it or justifying it at the expense of other concerns in the life of someone of limited means and oversized responsibilities.

I promote a more plant-based lifestyle for Afrikans as a means towards optimal health, the health-consequences of meat- and fast-food- and junk-food-heavy diets being more expensive to the individual health of Afrikan peoples and to the shared ecosystem than would occur if more humans ate more plants primarily and increasingly spared this world of animal husbandry.

But I don’t viscerally care so much what individual Afrikans are eating off the bat, don’t want to question one’s private choices, not outside of the context of recognizing that our inability to even access healthy plant-based lifestyles is due in large part to imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, white supremacy, neocolonialism, etc. themselves, the first causes of overall black suffering in the contemporary world.

To my current thinking, encouraging healthier lifestyle choices in the Afrikan community must always occur with the naked fact of segregation, exploitation, geographic and economic limitations and imposed ignorance about such choices, and so on, laid bare on the table, so we don’t fall into the trap of just talking about “let’s go vegan and it will all be fine, brothas and sistas!”

I’m not so interested in talking about saving the animals in this context either. In stating this I suppose I’m toying with blatant speciesism, which I’m not supposed to do as an ardent vegan. Make no mistake about it, I’m an ethical vegan, personally. I’m not interested in oppressing non-humans. But I have a whole lot more visceral solidarity with Jamaicans, Haitians or Nigerians than with cows and turkeys and pigs. And I’m not a back to nature man, I’m not one to stand still and be non-violent in the midst of being bitten by mad mosquitos or while suffering super-massive ant-infestations in my apartment (as occurred when I lived in Accra, Ghana). I’m not even a pet owner and never will be. I’m primarily interested in talking about and resolving human suffering by any means, and in particular the suffering of Afrikans.

Comparing slave ships to the animal slaughtering industry may have it’s place, somewhere for some minds. But I’m currently more interested in discussing eating healthy for the self-interested agenda of building a healthier and stronger black race, period. Getting folks more liberated from all these chronic diseases, and using my own experience as validation and evidence, is what suits me more these days. I think discussion of the Afrikan Holocaust, the Ma’afa, is not even deep enough in the Afrikan community worldwide, not in everyday parlance. We need to think deeply about the legacy of that holocaust, and talk loudly about it because it continues in new ways today, before casually introducing notions of animal holocaust into discussion, at least in the sorts of circles I run in. We Afrikans are still being treated, and are treating each other, like animals. Thus I don’t think some non-veg Afrikans are ready to immediately express profound sympathy for non-humans.

I am critical of Afrikan cultures that hold a prestige on meat. But that won’t stop me from working with said Afrikans toward common liberatory goals in the broader areas we can and must collaborate on. I still hint at putting more fruits and veggies in the body than dead flesh, since that’s my practice, I’m always asked about it by Afrikans, and most people intuitively know it’s healthier to eat more fruits and vegetables. But it’s not a make or break issue for me interpersonally.

So I just had to share that and update the blog. My pro-human speciesism is exposed. The direction of this blog, while still hip to discussions around plant-based diets and radical ecological justice struggles, will only entertain such struggles in full acknowledgment of the fact that capitalism/imperialism/patriarchy/white supremacy are the problems, to be resolved not by one-issue campaigns built on concepts hard to relate to intimately for all but the most privileged and aloof, but by humanistic revolutionary struggle to more fully meet human needs and enable human freedom for oppressed, dispossessed peoples, led by indigenous peoples, peoples of the third world, Afrikans. As sound, well-informed minds vying for healthier communities introduce their efforts into the revolutionary mix and see results, then in the course of a blatantly human struggle – this black struggle, land justice, sustainability and the needless waste of life and resources in current regimes of consumption can be overturned as well.

But for me it has to be about black liberation in total. Humans. To be fully human.

Discuss.

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Fruitarian Sounds

This comes from a youtube sista called Erykah Monique, based in the Bahamas. Very pleased to see an Afrikan seriously digging into fruitarianism. Presented with a relaxing vibe too.

I’ve been 98% frugivorous for quite a while now. No nuts, but I do still eat raw fresh leafy greens – mostly spinach and lettuce on a daily basis; celery too. Some would say that already qualifies me as a fruitarian, but there are strict fruitarians that say I’m disqualified by the greens from using that term. I may consider trying 100% fruitarianism (no greens) one of these days. Cherries, watermelon, bananas, grapefruit – that’s most of what I ate today. Rest was a modest selection of  okra, tomatoes, cucumber, and dem greens – spinach, celery and lettuce. Dat’s it. I do really like the idea of just declaring myself straight-up fruitarian though, make it simple and straight to the point, because I live off fruits. Might rename this joint “Afrikan Fruitarian Talk.” Seriously!

Stick with fresh fruits [and veggies] and you can’t lose!!

VeganHood TV Episode 2 “Health is Wealth” 3/4

Just out. The warrior Mental Sun and friends keep workinonit. Enjoy! Thanks brotha Mental Sun!

Benjamin Zephaniah, Afrikan Poet, Vegan

As for me, I’ve kept linking to random nice things lately, instead of writing long articles, because I’m still finishing up this novel. Coming soon, in late July, I’ll be co-hosting a sustainability/ food co-op/ community gardens tour in Brooklyn with my homie who teaches at Kingsborough Community College, and I’ll be posting a lengthy write-up on that (I’ll be done with the novel by then). That’s just the beginning of the next phase of things around here.

‘Til then, the Guardian UK has a nifty interview up today about Mr. Benjamin Zephaniah, an awesome UK-based Afrikan (via Barbados and Jamaica) poet I’ve long admired. We’re of the same feather – we both went vegan at age 15, and we’re both Kung-Fuists! Read the interview. This is like a two-birds w/ one stone shout-out, for both another vegan brother and a fellow creative.

The Observer Food Monthly over there has as their magazine feature vegetarianism in general, some basic stuff, though comparatively progressive since I’ve never seen, say, the New York Times Magazine shine this much light on vegetarianism, and wouldn’t expect it – they’re still having a hard time taking Michael Pollan seriously at the editorial level, whether or not his stuff gets published with NYT from time to time.

More to come. stay tuned.

Raw “Tacos,” or the Nigerian

This past weekend I made some raw tacos, but I don’t wanna call them that. So I figure, why not just call it the “Nigerian“? Or the “Nigerian Sandwich“? Culture is invented every day. And I have both a Nigerian and a US passport (despite the fact that I was born, raised and spent 99% of my life in New Jersey and New York City). Since this particular style is original (there are other raw “tacos” but none are exactly like these) and a dual citizen (or at least dual passport holder) made them (who can legally claim Nigerianity or Nigeriosity by parentage alone), why not? Why not call this one for the whole Nigerian world? If one Nigerian can invent and enjoy a raw vegan so-called taco or burrito, all Nigerians can. Nigeria is not a static and rigid and ultra-conservative society of maddening corruption and sickeningly needless, manmade underdevelopment, where vegetarians are unheard of. It also includes, at least in theory since I do have a Nigerian passport, wild ubuntuist atheist anarcho-syndicalist raw-vegan pro-black gentlemen like me that ride bikes, write books and do kettlebells. And as of today, it also includes raw vegan tacos. We all know about Jolof rice, named after a whole ethnic group – the Wolof people – in Senegal. Now we have something even bigger – “the Nigerian.”

Also, the “Raw Okra Stew” I’ve talked about earlier? Forget that name. I am now calling it “the Green Garvey.” Copyright the Precision Afrikan 2010, if necessary. Wait, no, “Creative” Copyright (CC), right? And it’s all 100% open-source. See? Nigeria isn’t all about the lack of government transparency.

And to the thought police goblins, don’t get your undergarments all in a wedgie over this, claiming iconoclasm or unpatrioticness – I’m just trying to rebrand Nigeria like Dora Akunyili.

New traditions, baby, new traditions, all day. Pro-human, pro-planet, art, music, poetry and literature from sun-up to sun-down. Wanna enjoy the new world, the new Pan-African, Pan-American, Virgo Supercluster vision of celebrations and saxophone horns that can be heard, yes indeed, in the vacuum of space (well at least in low-Earth orbit)? Then you must become mighty healthy. The Nigerian will help you on that path.

The ingredients are:

A) The taco build –

Big leaves of collards

A nice big red cabbage

Carrots

Okra!!!!

Snow peas

Zucchini

Tomatoes

And any other damn vegetable thing you like. Cukes, avos, sprouts, bell pepper, whatever.

B) The sauce, blended in a blender

Tomatoes – like five or six plum tomatoes in my case

An onion

Fresh basil

Fresh cilantro

An habañero pepper, aka “heat rock”

And whatever else you’d like, don’t be dogmatic – read beyond the letter of the script.

So what do you do? You blend your sauce. You could use a bicycle blender to save electricity. I don’t have one of those yet. But that’s the most basic step. Then, with a bowl of that sauce handy, and after you’ve washed all your veggies, you build your tac– erm, Nigerians.

How’s that go? I start with a big, massive leaf of a collard. Open that up and spread some of the sauce on it. Then, peel off a nice thick purple leaf of the red cabbage for the second leaf which forms the inner “bun.” Spread a spoon of your sauce on top of this, too. Then, you add your veggies. Now I sliced the zucchinis into thin pasta strips with my trusty julienne slicer, and peeled my carrots into wafer-thin strips with my reliable vegetable peeler. On all the tacos, after laying down the buns, the first joints I drop in there are a handful of zucchini strips. Then come the snow peas, a few okras (lob off the tips of those), the carrot slices, and finally a few tomatoes. And last, I dribble some more sauce across the top. And then I repeat, making enough of these to exhaust my supplies and satisfy my hunger. Other than fruits, it was my main “supper” the whole weekend.

Extremely satisfactory and delicious, and very filling. At least to me. And my taste-buds aren’t that unusual. The minions of anti-veganism may fear the “blandness” of plants. As the great DJ Dirty Harry (Rockers) once said, Remove Ya! I and I come and change the mood! Get into this real food.

Try it out. Let this crazy rasta know what you think.

And now, the porn (Nigerian porn):

These joints look like Nigeria though, right? Especially if you’ve ever been down to my area, the Niger Delta. Greenness everywhere. I’m not that far off.

New traditions, baby, new traditions, all day. Global citizens of hip-hop veganism and reggae revolution topped with ragas can now relish the Nigerian.

VeganHood TV!

VeganHood TV

Come and see how to live healthy

Best believe you don’t need to be wealthy

Follow me to the knowledge tree

We just fulfilling the prophecy

And eating what nature’s provided me

>Repeat<

Word, son! This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve been checking out VeganHood TV on Youtube for the past couple weeks. They are excellent. Black vegan men in Brooklyn. Showcasing the realness and teaching the family. These are the sort of cats I’ve got to collabo with once I move to BK later this year. They should win awards based on their theme song alone, I love it. When I hear those lyrics my fist is up and my head is bopping. It’s so simple and nice and the beat suggests urgency. Live and direct. Call me mad corny but this is what’s up. So I’m highlighting their work here today, supporting more productive black vegans in the family. I see you! Keep repping the cause.

Black vegan straight-edge vigor forever. Black vegans ain’t going nowhere.

Watch it all right here (what they have up so far, a work in progress):

Episode 1

Episode 2 – part 1 of 4

Episode 2 – part 2 of 4

Also, a revolutionary brother named Safari-Black related to this endeavor posting earlier about the Vegan Hip-Hop Movement:

Vegan and hip-hop are two of my main ingredients in terms of how I’d have to be defined. Vegan Hip-Hop movement? I’m ’bout that.

Shoutout to Great Black Vegans of Our Time

At this time, I would like to show respect and love to just some of my favorite and most inspiring contemporary vegans of the African world. Beginning with the sistas:

Tracye McQuirter

This is the genius and beauty who has just dropped the instant classic By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat. The title alone is iconic and historically legit and literate to the urgency with which Africans must change their diets if we wish to actually enjoy our existence on Earth and thrive at being productive and exemplary human beings in the process. In 2010 and beyond, more Africans are awakening to the nutritional and culinary excellence of abstaining from animal products and eating herbivorously and frugivorously. The great Tracye McQuirter speaks the language of the longevity and beauty that veganism furnishes and enables for African people. I recommend her book to brothas and sistas alike.

Koya Webb

This is a raw vegan sista whose career as personal trainer, writer, lifestyle coach, fitness model, and beyond is inspiring a generation of sistas and brothas to consider how physically liberating and empowering the raw vegan lifestyle can be in combination with vigorous, righteously sweaty exercise from day to day. This is physical culture + raw veganism in action. She embodies the fulfillment of what, in an ideal world, should be easy: radiant health and genius thinking (in a beautiful black body and soul!).

Note: For me personally, the likes of Koya Webb and Tracye McQuirter to me are in the chamber of angels – dark-skinned black vegan intellectual creative critical-thinking physically-fit warrior-goddesses who never let up, waking people up all day. When I look for a wife/life partner one day, they’re the prototype, most definitely. The sista below also belongs in this same chamber:

Breeze Harper

Genius!! Her awesome book Sistah Vegan is now just out. She analyzes the intersections of race, class, gender, ideology and forms of oppression and exclusion as pertains to women of color who live veganly, and she allows black vegan women to speak for themselves. This is the critical thought lens we desperately need as we interrogate and improve our lives as vegans of color in a world whose institutions of power and economic influence still trend towards the capitalist, the meat-centric, the exploitation-oriented, the consumption and waste-based, the arrogance of the white male and female. I plan to write a comedic/ satirical novella called Brotha Vegan in the coming months, just to stir up the pot even more; for that I owe inspiration to this gorgeous and wise sister and mother.

Now for some brothas:

Jericho Sunfire

This gentleman is an everyman bodhisattva. I remember him back when he was Richard Blackman, the fruitarian one, and he was a massive inspiration for my own movement from veganism towards raw and then low fat raw/ fruitarianism, years ago. He is a most impressive teacher, fitness trainer, athlete, scholar, spirit-genius. Jericho Sunfire might be the ultimate soul brotha one hundred. This is a man worth listening to, even if you have doubts about breatharianism and such. He has walked this walk and he is doing his thing for real. He is a leader in this black vegan, black health, Afrikan revival and revolution, Afrikans in true harmony with the planet and one another, renaissance. There are very few people in this planet I would call genius, let alone bodhisattva. This guy is dead serious, as are all the other geniuses on this page.

Storm Talifero

This is a true family brother and a man who, with his wife Jinjee, brings great raw vegans together to spread human evolution as the revolution towards fitness and clean, maximally nutritious eating. This genius has raised / is raising six children who are all themselves demonstrating genius-level capacities as young vegans. To me, he is so revolutionary in the grandness of his home, his home-schooling successes, his vigorous lifestyle, the excellence he expects and receives from his children, and his radically pro-Earth and pro-human ideologies and practices. Pro-Earth: planting fruits and vegetables sustainably, planning and building sustainable homes, promoting renewable energy, minimizing negative environmental impacts and consumption and waste. Pro-Human: practicing harmony, peace and celebration within the household and beyond, sharing and teaching the art of maximal living in harmony with our rare and singularly beautiful planet. This is what I’m talking about! I wanna do it just like him when I start a family – open-minded, creative, tolerant, harmonious, loving, raw vegan, growing food, teaching the offspring everything I know so they surpass me and outdo me in their time and protect the planet, humanity and non-humans; building things together, giving birth to an army and generation of geniuses who will invent things and ideas that even young people like me in our era can’t even imagine. Hats off to Storm Talifero and his wife Jinjee for their incredible example of what is possible in a raw vegan family.

All these cats above? Pure Generals of this movement. They are so human! Writing, teaching, doing the right things. This is what it’s about. I only wish to be as serious, productive and sharing as these African vegans. Check them out and learn from them. More later.