Actress, Filmmaker

Jasmine C. Leyva

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. The documentary begins with the personal story of Jasmine Leyva, a 30-year-old black actress and filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. Over the past seven years, Leyva has committed herself to veganism, both in lifestyle and research.

The Invisible Vegan

the cast

Jasmine Leyva

“I don’t want to be an invisible vegan.”

Jasmine Leyva

Actress, Filmmaker
Cedric

“In theory, you can eat better, eat cleaner, feel stronger, while your body is taking the nutrients from the food and healing itself or you can just go ahead and eat poorly, finish with diabetes and then you've got to deal with that 'til your foot gets cut off and I ain't with that possibility.”

Cedric the Entertainer

Actor and Comedian
John Salley

“When the baby is born, no one even thinks about giving the baby a piece of chicken. They're mashing up pumpkins squash and peas and yams. As soon as the baby gets two front teeth, they think it's a savage and they destroy the thought process of feeding your child vegetables.”

John Salley

Former NBA Player and Health Advocate
Stic

“Health is about access, it's about economics, it’s about psychology, it’s about the organization of your community to provide certain things. It's about everything.”

Stic of Dead Prez

Underground hip hop artist
Dr Milton Mills

“If you want to see the face of addiction, forget about the coke addict or the heroine addict. Try taking a piece of fried chicken from someone. Then you will see what addiction consists of.”

Dr. Milton Mills M.D

Associate Director of Preventive Medicine with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Tracye McQuirter

“When and where I entered veganism was through black folks, through the black community. This is something that is definitely a key part of who we are and needs to continue to grow for us.”

Tracye Mcquirter MPH

Author of By Any Greens Necessary
Psyche

“This is why I say people think food is just food. No, it's filled with so many layers of expectation, of anticipation, of you should, you shouldn't. It is a heavy material object that carries so much power, personal power, group power and has the ability to join as much as it has the ability to divide.”

Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson

Chair of American Studies, University of Maryland
Lauren Ornelas

“Why is it that dairy alternatives are not as available to us in our communities when we can’t even digest it to begin with? That is indicative of an even larger problem. The food that is actually available to us is making us sick.”

Lauren Ornelas

Founder and Exec Director of Food Empowerment Project
Sebastian

“When we consume the bodies of dead animals, we're consuming violence, we're consuming the product of violence. We have commodified someone else's body the same way we have been commodified. It's a system of violence.”

Christopher-Sebastian McJetters

Writer and Activist
Dr Opare

“The entire medical complex ranging from the insurance companies, the hospitals, have an entrenched interest in the population as a whole continuing on a nutricidal pattern of food consumption. That's why becoming a vegan is a revolutionary act. You are fundamentally threatening the economic basis of society.”

Dr. Nana and Ama Opare

Holistic Doctor, Opare Institute
Xavier Brown

“Somebody, somewhere that I've talked to will be like ‘I remember him. I remember the black dude with the beard. He was over there growing vegetables and that's how I learned.’``

Xavier Brown

Founder of Soilful City
Lillian Hill

“African Americans are emotionally connected to food because it's about community and family.”

Lillian Hill

Sugar Baking Company Owner
Lezlie Mitchell

“This is first the I have more curves and that was very foreign to me, even as a woman of color, because I grew up so small and working in the industry. I am just starting to walk into who I really am and this has been a vital part of that so I am really grateful.”

Lezlie Love

Actress, Writer and Model
Genesis

“We are animals and they're animals, so we should treat them like friends because it wouldn't be fair if somebody just killed all your family.”

Genesis Butler

Founder of Genesis for Animals
Siatta Adams

“That's why people are not out to try this lifestyle. You're telling your grandmother or your great grandmother, ‘the way you're cooking is not suitable and it may not be the best for my health.’ And people don't like that.”

Siatta Adams

Senior Researcher
Dr. A. Breeze Harper

“It is popular in the mainstream vegan movement to actually promote veganism as a cure all. It’s making people feel as if it’s the individual’s responsibility to take control of their health and it ignores a lot of the systemic factors that actually make it difficult for a lot of people to come to health or the harmony they need.”

Breeze Harper

Author, Sistah Vegan
Nina 4

“It is popular in the mainstream vegan movement to actually promote veganism as a cure all. It’s making people feel as if it’s the individual’s responsibility to take control of their health and it ignores a lot of the systemic factors that actually make it difficult for a lot of people to come to health or the harmony they need.”

Nina Curtis

Vegan and Raw Chef

get the latest updates

subscribe for our newsletter

what they say