New Website Founded to Connect Black Vegan Community
Launched in January, Black Vegans Rock serves as an online homebase for the black vegan community.
Less than five months after its inception, website Black Vegans Rock is already changing—and improving—the vegan landscape. Built upon the premise of uniting the black vegan community, the project is an undertaking of award-winning blogger and performer Aph Ko.
Curating entries from across the world, Ko (named one of IndieWire.com’s 10 Creatives of the Year and a recipient of the 2015 Vegan Anti-Racist Change Maker of the Year Award by the Sistah Vegan Project and The Pollination Project) has created a grassroots space that celebrates the intersection of blackness and veganism. A diverse range of people—including artists, small business owners, restaurateurs, organizers, activists, and bloggers—are profiled, all for the continued fostering of the black vegan community.
VegNews spoke to Aph Ko about her website and why seeing black vegan faces is so important.
VegNews: For readers who don’t know, what is Black Vegans Rock?
Aph Ko: Black Vegans Rock is a new digital project that seeks to spotlight and celebrate individual black vegans to change the dominant narrative that veganism is a “white person’s” thing. We feature a new black vegan each day, and we expose our audience to different ways of thinking about animal oppression and black oppression.
VN: What does the production of the site look like?
AK: It takes a lot of work to make this project run. I have an incredible advisory board [including Tracye McQuirter, Dr. A. Breeze Harper, and sister Syl Ko] that helps me accomplish my goals, and I have a very intense/passionate personality, so I’m working on BVR every day to make it a success. I feature people who have been vegan their whole lives to people who have been vegan for two months. I feature giant activists as well as folks who don’t label themselves as activists but identify as vegan. Being black and vegan, for me, is already activist in nature, especially if you live in a country that is constantly trying to nutritionally starve, poison, incarcerate, and kill you.
VN: What has the response been like so far?
AK: The response has been overwhelmingly positive. The incredible feedback from individual black folks keeps me going every day. I think black folks and allies were craving a space like this.
VN: Why is representation so important?
AK: Representation can be life-saving. Images are symbolic, and they construct our reality. A lot of vegans of color don't connect to the mainstream animal-rights and vegan movements because of the Eurocentric logic employed to structure these movements. If you don’t see yourself in the images that surround you, you tend to think that you can’t achieve what’s being represented.
VN: What do you say to people who say “but ALL vegans rock?”
AK: Yes, absolutely—all vegans do rock. However, if you’re going to try to understand movements for the oppressed, you need to employ some nuance. All vegans rock, but not all vegans are equally represented, nor are all vegan perspectives accounted for. So, that presents an issue when we try to celebrate all of us, yet a lot of us feel excluded or frustrated.
VN: From where does the representation problem in veganism stem?
AK: The racial representation problem in veganism is an expression of a much larger cultural problem. Overall, I think the real problem is that those in the dominant class do not know how they’re being catered to every day, which is why they don't need to talk about their race every minute. I don’t want to “rectify” the representation problem in veganism because that implies that the problematic Eurocentric framework stays intact and black and brown faces are added superficially. That’s cosmetic diversity, which can only serve the oppressor. We need our own movements where the oppressed are the authors of the change.
10 Reasons New Vegan Documentary The Game Changers Will Literally Change Every Game
One part What the Health and 10 parts of the most inspiring fitness routine you've ever seen, this new film—executively produced by James Cameron—will have you sweating in your seat.
Read More »
25 Accidentally Vegan Snacks You Can Find at Virtually Any Convenience Store
Forget the quinoa, and pass the Sour Patch Kids.
Read More »
14 Ways to Step Up Your Vegan Popcorn Game
Whether you prefer savory or sweet, weve got something for everyone on this list of snack-worthy recipes to celebrate National Popcorn Day.
Read More »
In 2018, Being Vegan Also Means Being a Recycler
Recycling saves the planet (and its inhabitants) and is great for tight budgets.
Read More »
Well, That Was Quick. 7 Ways Were Breaking Our 2018 Resolutions with the New Vegan Ben & Jerrys Flavors
The debut of the new flavors from this iconic ice cream brand have us dreaming of all the ways we plan on eating them.
Read More »
- How a Vegan Celebrity Chef Became One of Biggest Influencers in Atlanta
- 4 Vegan Athletes Who Think You Need to Join the #PlantMilkChallenge
- From 6 Months to Live to a New Lease On Life: Veganism Saved Her Life
- If Your Baby Could Talk, They Would Tell You They Really Want Vegan Diaper Ointments
- If Going Vegan is Your Resolution This Year, Read This
- 2018 is the Year of the Vegan Wine and Cheese Pairings
- How a Vegan Restaurateur Balances Work and a Hunter Husband
- You Are Only 6 Steps Away from Your Best Vegan Year Ever
- Everything You Need to Know About Milk Substitutes
- Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' Enforced Policy Literally Saved His Life
- Frick 2017! Heres What VegNews Editors Plan to Do in 2018 …
- Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure? Go Vegan!
- Are Your Sweeteners as Vegan and Ethical as You Are?
- Is So-Called Clean Meat Vegan? Paul Shapiro Has the Answer
- The VegNews Vegan Starter Kit
- The 12 Best Vegan Desserts of All Time at Trader Joes
- Winter Doesnt Stand a Chance Thanks to These 5 Vegan Skin Products
- Why Jackie Day Should Be Your New Vegan BFF
- 9 Vegan Startups You Need to Know About in 2018
- 2018 is the Year Your Skin Goes Vegan, Too