feature: black vegans rock – creative casserley talks defying community expectations as nigerian-irish vegan

July 6, 2016

Casserley is an actress, performance artist, model, harpist, writer and student. She is training to be a therapist on an attachment theory course and also studying for her masters in infant mental health. She lives in London, England.

By Black Vegans Rock, AFROPUNK contributor

I realized from an early age that eating animal products did not feel natural. I came to veganism for both dietary and ethical reasons–eating flesh and animal products has always felt wrong. I have been picking the meat out of my food since I was a little baby. I always wanted to cuddle animals, not consume them. My compassion for other creatures is not disturbed by my own actions, though I cannot control the actions of others of course…nor would I attempt to, except by my own example.

I am aware of breaking the meat loving African stereotype especially in regards to chicken!! As a Nigerian Irish girl, I am the product of two highly meat loving societies. In Ireland especially, it seems almost patriotic to celebrate meat and as a consequence veganism can be frowned upon. My experience of Nigerian society has been that consumption of meat is linked to status and by corollary, avoidance of meat is synonymous with deprivation. My loved ones expressed consternation with my choice and became very preoccupied with my protein intake. My grandmother worried that my hair would start to thin, but my fro is as robust as ever!!! My advice to other people would be do not let your personal health and lifestyle choices be dictated by received notions of ethnicity.

Picture credit: Schirley Amaral Photography


This post is is in partnership with Black Vegans Rock.