As the understanding of what a vegetarian is becomes more common knowledge, more people are turning to this diet. In black communities specifically, being vegetarian is becoming much more common place, and the black celebrity world is also embracing this change.
But who are these men and women who champion the diet? Here are some famous black vegetarians that support the cause.
Black Female Vegetarians
So first let’s look at some black female vegetarians.
This legendary vegetarian switched to a meat-free diet after being diagnosed with bouts of ulcers. She opted for a natural way to cure the ulcers by taking fresh cabbage juice daily and said the decision healed her condition in 13 days. That outcome encouraged her to learn more about nutrition and embrace a structured vegetarian diet.
She incorporated various principles like fasting, weight loss and detox, vegetarian juices and diets, and other healthcare products. She offered consultation and advisory services to several prominent figures in the Black community, including Dick Gregory, who often inquired about how frequently or the timing of his fasts.
Fulton strongly promoted vegetarianism and nutrition using her company and knowledge of food. Researchers and nutritionists still use her books as a reference for health and vegetarianism, and fasting.
Traci is a passionate vegetarian and activist who has held various campaigns to champion for animal rights. She has collaborated with PETA for several campaigns, notably featuring in a sexy ad that categorized parts of her body like an animal. It was aimed to highlight the injustice and fairness of rearing animals in cooped conditions only to get slaughtered later.
She combines her vegetarian diet with lightweight training to remain in shape to wow her audience in her TV shows. She claims she feels and looks better because of her vegetarianism.
Thomas was known for her roles in The Cosby Show and The Young and the Restless. She lived as a role model, being conscious about her health choices and how it affected her physical and mental health. In particular, Michelle was a dedicated vegetarian and avoided smoking and alcohol.
Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t make it. But her telling contributions to the film industry and the vegetarian community continue to inspire many people.
Rosa Parks was a civil rights activist whose refusal to vacate a bus seat for a white person inspired a widespread movement against discrimination in Montgomery, Alabama. She made the switch simply because she wanted to and was a committed vegetarian until she passed away in 2005.
Angela Bassett is a modest vegetarian who uses her diet to help in shaping her body for her physically demanding acting work. She’s kept to a strict vegetarian diet to support her long-lasting career, which has included prominent roles in Black Panther and Olympus Has Fallen.
She typically eats lean protein at the end of the week, which keeps her feeling energized and active.
With a career spanning several decades, Cicely owed her unique, beautiful, and strong physique to her vegetarian diet. She argued that if you could maintain your vehicle by having the best spare parts and the most expensive oil, why shouldn’t you do the same to your body? The results were evident as she continued to work hard up until she passed away in 2021.
Angela, a star in MTV shows and a fashion designer, adopted a vegetarian diet after being inspired by his uncle Rusell Simmons.
In addition, Simmons’ Christianity reinforced her choice to go vegetarian. She believes God created every human being and animal to be happy hence the efforts to protect their rights.
Since making the switch, Simmons has credited the diet for helping her feel fitter and healthier. She maintains a healthy vegetarian diet but mainly focuses on plant-based meals like egg whites and sweet potatoes for breakfast.
Today, Simmons actively encourages people to go vegetarian and set the animals free to be happy.
Simmons participated in and promoted the PETA campaign dubbed Eating Meat is a Sin: Go Vegetarian, which the organization used to raise awareness of the plight of animals kept or reared for their meat in dingy conditions.
A former child star, Zendaya has flourished as an adult actress, starring in hit movies like Spiderman. She went vegetarian as a kid when she passed a slaughterhouse with her dad. Given her love for animals, she couldn’t stand the idea of eating living creatures.
Surprisingly, Zendaya is not a big fan of veggies despite switching to the diet.
That has led the actress to look for alternatives and be creative with takeouts, as she’s also not a fan of cooking.
Vanessa A. Williams
Vanessa, often confused with the more famous Vanessa Williams, is best known for her role in the Showtime series, Soul Food. The actress and producer uses herbal and nutritional remedies to care for her and her family’s bodies and health. She combines her vegetarian diet with exercise to maintain better physical and mental well-being.
Phylicia has been a vegetarian since she was a teenager. Her mother, a professor, was a firm believer and advocate for adhering to a plant-based life. Rashad has benefitted from following a consistent vegetarian lifestyle, evident by her physical health and youthful appearance.
To complement her diet, Rashad practices yoga and meditation early in the morning.
Black Male Vegetarian
Next it’s the black male vegetarians.
Keenan Ivory Wayans
Keenan is a member of the hilarious Wayans family who steers clear of meat to stay fit and healthier. Born in a family of 10 kids, he took to comedy to mask his worries and simply have a good and fun time at home.
Early in his career, he used to eat any food type and didn’t think anything of maintaining a specific diet. Now, however, Wayans is a vocal campaign for vegetarianism and even participated in a PSA for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in 2006.
This former NFL star is keen on keeping a strict vegetarian diet and a working training schedule. He has said he inherited most of his eating habits from his family and makes a habit of checking what he consumes.
He’s been practicing vegetarianism for two decades. However, he reportedly ate chicken occasionally to supplement his diet during his football career.
Despite often being claimed to be a vegan, the legendary musician was actually vegetarian, and was a passionate campaigner for living meat-free. In fact, he went so far as to not allow any meat to be prepared on his properties.
He was voted the sexiest vegetarian by PETA in 2006, showing his influence and popularity in the community.
As a food lover, he was most partial to pancakes, eggs, chocolate fountains, and others. He had a specific menu for his wedding focusing on vegetarian treats, showing his passion for this lifestyle.
Ben Carson switched to a vegetarian diet because of his wife, who is a vegetarian. He’s not a fan of cooking and hence ate what his wife prepared, leading to him adopting vegetarianism. However, he doesn’t have a strict stance on meat, and there have even been reports that he enjoys the occasional burger away from home.
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Clarke is a renowned actor who follows a specific vegetarian healthy diet. He’s shed approximately 35 pounds since swapping all meats with other proteins like tofu. The iconic actor feels healthier, fitter, and stronger on this diet as he strides to save animals.
Rev Run, as Simmons is popularly known, is a founding member of Run-DMC who cut off meat from his diet as an act of faith.
The rapper and DJ is a Pentecostal minister but he was also influenced by a history of diabetes in his family. His vegetarian diet has helped him maintain a healthy mind and body in his career and personal life.
Lucas is a professional basketball player who maintains a vegetarian diet. He mixed in sessions of meditation and watched his dietary needs to remain competitive at the highest level. He didn’t compromise on his needs but worked around proper nutrition by looking at what and how much he consumed daily.
An SDA chaplain, Barry Black has been a vocal advocate for practicing vegetarianism. He says he grew up following a healthy vegetarian lifestyle and thus followed it even in adulthood and throughout his career.
Rev Al Sharpton
Rev Al took a different approach than most vegetarians. He started by slowly eliminating different types of meat, from red meat to chicken, until he perfected his vegetarian diet. He did this to keep off the weight he’d lost in jail during the hunger strike and feel lighter and healthier.
After going vegetarian, he reckons he feels better, sharper, and more energetic. He also partnered up with PETA in various boycotts to fight for the rights of animals. Notably, he participated in the KFC boycott that demanded better conditions for the chicken reared for their business.
Dick switched to a vegetarian diet due to ethical reasons. He believes every living animal should be treated fairly and with respect as they feel pain and have emotions and thus shouldn’t be handled with such brutality.
The Grammy award winner has long been mindful of what goes into his body. He switched to a vegetarian diet in his early 20s to maintain his health, weight, and fitness. While the iconic musician made being vegetarian a central part of his life, he is no longer vocal about his lifestyle.
This famous singer switched to vegetarianism with the intention of losing weight. Before his switch, he struggled to lose weight despite putting in the hours of exercise.
His hard work and lifestyle changes led him to lose more than 70 pounds, but he still wanted to compare notes from other vegetarian tips and diets.
Studdard’s passion and the positive response to his changed appearance encouraged him to do more and stick to the diet because of his improved fitness and health.
Whitaker decided to go vegetarian after portraying Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland in 2006. The role required him to gain some weight, which he had to lose after filming. Going meatless helped him achieve his goals and stay fit and healthy. Whitaker eventually adopted the lifestyle permanently.
Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo Green’s desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle pushed him to a vegetarian diet. He adopted the vegetarian diet in 2011, as he realized that unhealthy eating habits were a major problem for him. Since then, he’s noticed positive health changes in his lifestyle and remains committed to vegetarianism.
Omar is a House cast member who doesn’t eat meat. His vegetarian meals include protein shakes with seeds, amino acids, fruits, and multivitamins. Epps has stated he stays vegetarian to maintain his fitness, body shape, and health.
Famous Black Vegetarians, Final Thoughts
These are some celebrated vegetarians that are making their make in plant-based living. Each has a different reason why they engage in the vegetarian diet. Some may fall off the wagon, but their discipline and goals motivate them to keep up their routine and inspire their followers to adopt vegetarianism.
There’s still a long way to go regarding increasing the numbers to change the culture, but these famous people’s campaigns and operations have rippled effects among their followers. From their social platforms, campaigns, and their characters as role models, there’s significant progress in the vegetarian population.