By Ty Oneal
Vegan Hip Hop Movement: This is where food justice with a plant-based/decolonial diet perspective meets hip hop and where we explore the intersections of other animal/human/earth liberation. Hip hop is rooted in resistance and rich with experience in fighting for social justice. Veganism is about practicing compassion and is motivated by living cruelty-free for the sake of other animals. The fusion of veganism and hip hop is designed to promote holistic activism.
Jeremy “Wize” Brown and family are new shareholders at the California Neighborhood Fresh Stop Market. He is also a local hip hop artist, performing with his partner Sultra under the name CPHR DVN. And, Wize and his family are committed vegans.
Over the past 25 years there has been a rise in the number of people who’ve adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle—including some of hip-hop’s most respected names. RZA – frontman of the Wu-tang Clan, Will.I.Am – Frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, Will.I. and Grammy-award winning singer-songwriter Mya are all vocal vegans who are deeply engaged in spreading the word about their love for plants and animals.
Wize decided to change the way he eats to better connect to Mother Earth. We recently ran into Wize as he was picking up his share at his Fresh Stop Market and he agreed to sit down for this interview.
Q: How did you find out about New Roots and the Fresh Stop Markets?
A: Through a friend who had just started his plant-based journey. He spoke at a New Roots event and introduced me and my family to some of the organizers.
Q: Do you like the people at New Roots?
A: Yes, the team seems really dedicated to helping feed people of all walks of life, healthy, organic produce.
Q: Are you a family man?
A: Yes. My partner Sultra and I have three children who were all brought up vegan and homeschooled.
Q: How do you like Louisville?
A: It has a nice vibe, it is a place with great potential.
Q: What neighborhood do you live in?
Q: Do you like to play games and be around family?
A: Yes, I enjoy spending time with friends and family as well as being out in nature.
Q: What’s your favorite vegetables?
A: Lettuce, especially Romaine, mushrooms, sea veggies, onions, cabbage, etc.
Q: Do you like certain types of fruit?
A: Apples, grapes, watermelon, cherries, grapefruit, and the list goes on.
Q: Do you know a lot of people that like to eat vegetables for a meal or snack?
A: Yes I do. I enjoy preparing roasted zucchini and squash in the air fryer with a little salt and pepper. It’s a big hit in my household.
Q: What’s your favorite way to prepare your Fresh Stop Market veggies?
A: I like the beets raw, cabbage cooked lightly, onions in stews and soups.
Q: Do you have any favorite recipes you have prepared from the share?
A: I made a vegetable curry with zucchini, squash, cabbage that was really tasty.
Q: Do you believe Mother Earth provides us energy through the veggies we eat?
A: Of course. This is one of the ways she communicates with us as well as keeps us healthy.
Q: How did you become vegan?
A: While I was serving in the Army I was stationed in Hawaii. I became friends with a fellow soldier who was a vegetarian. He used to roast me for eating dead animal flesh. He shared the knowledge of how we ingest the hormones and fear of the animal during slaughter and that really stuck with me. Then all of a sudden he goes, “why do you do that.” I go, “what do you mean it’s just meat.” He eventually was reassigned to a different duty station and it wasn’t until months late that I decided to give vegetarianism a try. I did it for a week and then attempted to eat a burger again. Eating the burger left me feeling terrible and I knew then that I would never go back to eating meat. After a few months of vegetarianism, my current partner and I went to see the author of Mad Cowboy speak. After hearing Howard F. Lyman share his story we went vegan. No more dairy products for us. Nearly 20 years later and we are still going strong.
Q: Where did you meet your wife?
A: While I was serving in the Army. We were both stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. We happened to be on the same plant-based path and decided to begin that journey together.
Q: What are your favorite vegan dishes to cook with Fresh Stop Market organic vegetables?
A: I once made a Napa cabbage dish I lightly sauteed with a little soy sauce and a little sesame oil. I enjoy spicy food.
Q: What made you want to become a music artist?
A: When I was growing up I would listen to a variety of genres but by far my favorite was black culture music known as hip-hop. And my favorite artists were Wu-tang, Mobb Deep, or 2pac. I like music with a message and a purpose. My dad was a church minister so I grew up learning and listening to gospel songs and traveling places with different genres of music. I like music with a message or a purpose. I also enjoy composing music as well as mixing and mastering.
Q: How has COVID-19 Affected you?
A: It has been a blessing in disguise. This situation has shown me that the time is NOW when it comes to sharing my gifts on a global scale. The ancestors told me “no more half-stepping.” The universe says we must go all-in with both feet and commit to sharing our gifts with the world.
Really Easy Vegan Curry with Fresh Stop Market Vegetables
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 large zucchini, chopped roughly into large chunks
- 1 1/2 cups sliced green cabbage
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped or minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4-5 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tsp curry powder
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- Add olive oil to the pan, heat and sauté onion and garlic until soft
- Add fresh ginger and all the spices and stir on low heat for about 2-3 minutes
- Add zucchini and cook for about 3-5 minutes, keeping stirring so that nothing sticks to the pan
- Add cabbage and tomatoes and stir into mixture
- Simmer on low heat until vegetables start to soften
- Add the water and the coconut milk and lemon juice
- Stir it all together and serve immediately
Serve with brown or white rice, poppadoms and Mrs Balls Chutney as a special treat! This curry has a little bit of kick to it. Add more coconut milk or less spices if desired or serve with coconut yogurt.