Listen, I'm a sucker for an epic macaroni and yam combination like anybody else. However, I have to say I'm proud of my fellow African-Americans who have not only taken on the healthy plant-based lifestyle, but have also opened up dope eateries to show others that just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's not delicious.
You know they had us in mind when they created the vegan version of some of our favorite dishes - it's the best of both worlds. Check out a few Black-owned vegan spots you should definitely check out in your city:
Launched by Chef Babette (Chef B), Stuff I Eat in Inglewood is 100% vegan and 95% organic, i.e. it doesn't get more plant-based than that.
One of their most notable items are their tacos. From the wild rice blend to the tofu, or even a mix for those of us who want to try it all, Stuff I Eat has the vegan taco game on lock. They even feature Taco Tuesdays every week. You'll also want to dabble in other menu items like the organic soul flood platter (yams, macaroni, BBQ tofu, kale greens, black-eyed peas, and more), the Nat Burger, Lava Burrito, and of course a classic vegetable stir fry.
Green Seed Vegan in Houston is another amazing option. And I'm sure it has everything to do with its unique menu choices like pb&p (caramelized plantains with spinach and peanut butter spread), sweet porta (grilled portabella mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and spinach over pesto), and tosh (maple jerk garbanzo tempeh with grilled plantains, spinach and jerk aioli).
If anything, Green Seed Vegan, and its owners, husband and wife Matti Merrill and Rodney Perry, have proven that vegan dishes can actually be fun, flavorful, and soooo delicious. They've had their food truck for years but settled in their Houston brick-and-mortar back in 2012 and have been going strong over since. Fortunately for Houston residents (and anyone who stops through the city), they don't show any signs of slowing down at all.
Baltimore is not sleeping on The Land Of Kush. Owned by Gregory Brown, Naijjha Wright, and Darius Waters, the restaurant has a 4.5 rating with more than 1,000 Google reviews, and the people have spoken: Issa hit. The Land Of Kush was also voted Baltimore City Paper's 2017 Best Restaurant and its award-winning vegan crab cake got a nod in the city's 2015 Top Baltimore Dishes.
Now let's get into this menu. The food is said to be so good, you'll have to do a double-take to make sure it's even vegan, but of course it is. Some of its most popular dishes include BBQ ribs, lentil burgers, candied yams, baked macaroni, spinach lasagna, and vegan drummies. Plus, it's never short of a celebrity sighting like Chloe & Halle and TLC's Chilli.
Plum Bistro – Seattle, WA
Owner Makini Howell definitely had us wannabe-vegans in mind when she launched Plum Bistro on the West Coast. While she's been a vegan all her life, she understands the struggle of sticking with the plant-based diet. This is probably why it's been named Capitol Hill's Most Loved Vegan Restaurant for nearly 10 years.
She's proven that just because it's plant based, doesn't mean you can't get your fill. The menu includes buffalo Portobello burgers, Jamaican wraps, Mama Africa salads, and macho burritos, just to name a few. She even threw in some season vegan desserts like pure vanilla milkshakes, ice cream, golden milk snickerdoodle and avocado lavender ice cream sandwiches, and banana bread. And it's all locally grown. Talk about support!
This mother and son combination is shutting down the vegan game in NYC. Brenda and Aaron Beener have made it clear that what the vegan people want, the vegan people get.
Seasoned Vegan touts some amazing dishes like lemon crusted "chicken" nuggets, pizza quesadillas, and its own classic Po'Boy sandwich. Other favorites for the dinner menu are the smothered "chicken," black pepper "steak," "tuna" melts, and Harlem chopped "cheeseburgers."
The brunch menu includes amazing dishes like fried fermented soy "chicken" drumsticks with pancakes (or even sweet potato pancakes… ayyeee) and Burdock "crawfish" in garlic basil sauce, and, check this out, yam fried "shrimp." It even has a late-night menu and stays open until 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
From its creative buffets to themed meals, Louisville Vegan Kitchen has made it clear you can get full (and do a good food happy dance) while indulging in a plant-based diet.
It doesn't only offer amazing meals and dishes like cauliflower nuggets, stuffed mushrooms, spinach wrap spirals, gumbo, and more, but it provides many ways for you to keep up with your vegan goals through health coaching and personal chef services. It also caters events like work lunches, weddings, and more, to show everyone how doable the vegan lifestyle is.
Vegans in Atlanta (and even people who aren't vegan) already know what's up with Tassili's Raw Reality. Located in the West End district, it's probably one of the top vegan places in the city. It's just a bonus that the owner, Tassili Matt, is black and also doubles as the chef.
It features its raw wraps and salads from the South of the Border. like their chili wraps with black eyed pea hummus, and the Mandingo (a really big wrap with vegan mayonnaise and kale, avocado, tomato, sweet coconut corn, almonds, and more). The Dat Ish wrap is also a popular menu item as well as the Big Yoshi. Who else loves these names though?
Is there a black-owned vegan restaurant where you live? Let us know about it in the comments!
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15 Vegan Soul Food Dishes That'll Make You Rethink Meat – Read More
How I Transitioned My Meat-Loving Family To A Vegan Diet – Read More
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Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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When Megan Thee Stallion dropped “Hiss,” a shift happened. From the audacious lyrics to the striking visuals, there was no doubt that the song and video would go viral. The opening of the video shows the H-town hottie rocking a barely there Shibari red dress, showing off her voluptuous frame. It was a sexy moment created by Timeekah Murphy of Alani Taylor. The designer exclusively tells us how the opportunity came about and what it was like seeing her design on Megan for the first time.
xoNecole: How did the opportunity to create such an iconic look for Megan Thee Stallion's "Hiss" video come about?
Timeekah Murphy: The opportunity came from a DM from celebrity stylist Zerina Akers. She asked for a unique Shibari piece for Megan, and I needed to get it done in two days. So, of course, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I've always wanted to design for Megan, so this was an awesome opportunity for me.
xoN: What was that initial feeling of seeing the dress on her for the first time?
TM: I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Did you meet her? If so, how was that moment?
TM: I didn't meet Megan during the shoot, but during my time in LA, I got the opportunity to meet her at LA Pride with Tiffany Haddish, Common, and EJ King (stylist). Megan is such an amazing person, so it made it even better to know that my designs were going to be worn by her.
I was shocked because, at first, I thought it hadn't been used. I saw Megan's last video and thought, damn, maybe it didn't fit. So, to see it on such an amazing video was breathtaking. I was beyond excited to finally say I designed for her.
xoN: Walk us through the creation of the dress. How did you come up with the look, and how long did it take to make it?
TM: I was the co-designer for a brand called Deviant in 2018-2020, and we used to make custom Shibari pieces. That's how Zerina knew me. So I'm very familiar with making these types of pieces. We made plenty for Beyoncé, Cardi B, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, and so many others. So Zerina knew exactly what she wanted.
To get it done, it took me a day and a half. It's very intricate and time-consuming, so I spent about six hours making it then I sent an image of it to Zerina, and she didn't approve the first one, so I had to start from scratch again after getting my guidance and understanding of what was needed. The next day, I went to The Lab and created another version, and she approved it. I had to get it shipped overnight so that she would get it in time and fast forward to seeing it on the big screen.
xoN: What's next for you?
TM: Everything. The sky is not my limit, so the Alani Taylor brand is expanding into so many different avenues. We are getting involved in the community more, offering sewing classes to the youth. I've opened up a store for my brand in Atlanta and now preparing for fall/winter Fashion Week.
Megan Thee Stallion "Hiss" video/ YouTube