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Vegan Hip Hop, Alternative Black Masculinities

Ietef "DJ Cavem" Vita's album, "Going Green, Living Bling."

During the Fall of 2009, I attended the San Francisco Green Fest with my husband and infant son, Sun. I had the pleasure of meeting a young hip hop artist, vegan, and eco-sustainable activist out of Denver, CO, named Ietef. He gave me a free copy of his new cd called “Going Green, Living Bling.” I LOVE this album.

Ietef is a young 23 year old African American male and I strongly believe that the work he is doing is an excellent example of alternative black masculinities in the USA that is never depicted on mainstream media: holistic health oriented vegan and eco-sustainable. He teaches young urban people how to grow their own foods. His concept of “living bling” is “going green.” He is doing social justice activism in his community, teaching people about healthy living, eating, and eco-sustainable praxis. My favorite song on the album is “Wheat Grass.”

This is the music I want my son to listen to. It’s a more positive model of alternative African American masculinity that is rarely shown in the mainstream. Ietef is not an anomaly. There are many young brown and black men in the USA who engage in social justice activism around the issues of healthy eating and green living, they just don’t get the media attention they deserve, simply because the other forms of African American masculinity being depicted in the mainstream are more profitable (and reflect the reliance that consumer capitalism has on depicting black males as over-consumers of products that don’t cause harmony to the body, as well as depicting them as over [hetero]sexualized males who only care about lots of sex, furs, expensive jewelry, fine liquors, etc).

I am honored that Ietef gave me this gift that Sun can groove to, learn about the message, and get some beautiful wisdom. Listen to his lyrics below.

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