Cedric the Entertainer, John Salley, Jasmine Leyva, Stic Man, Lezlie Mitchell
The Invisible Vegan is a 90-minute independent documentary that explores the problem of unhealthy dietary patterns in the African-American community, foregrounding the health and wellness possibilities enabled by plant-based vegan diets and lifestyle choices. Featuring interviews with luminaries such as Cedric the Entertainer (actor and comedian), John Salley (former NBA player and wellness advocate), and Clayton Gavin (aka Stic of the hip-hop duo Dead Prez), this documentary shows how intertwined histories of slavery, twentieth-century socioeconomic inequalities, and the rise of Big Food, have led to the increased consumption and dependence on meat, processed, junk, and fast food. Inspired by Ralph Ellison’s 1952 firsthand account of alienation as an African-American in The Invisible Man, the title of this documentary evokes the ways in which prevailing attitudes and stereotypes about veganism within the African-American community have rendered the benefits of this lifestyle invisible within spheres of popular culture, social experience, and political debate. The documentary begins with the personal story of Jasmine Leyva, a 30-year-old black actress and filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. Taking Leyva’s unhealthy childhood growing up in Washington, DC as a point of departure, the film interweaves her narrative with the professional and personal experiences of a prominent group of vegan activists.