FEATURE: Shaun Flores

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Black first. Vegan second. My name is Shaun Flores and I’m a pro-black actor, model and intersectional vegan. I am a product of the system I am designed to destroy. Human privilege has been the worst privilege of all time. We render ourselves superior to those who do not speak our language. Because of this, we live in a world with stark injustices vividly painted before our eyes. But due to hyper-normalization, we remain oblivious to this. I had to re-condition my mind from the systems I was plugged into. Veganism as a black man was the very first step.  

My vegan journey began three years ago. Becoming vegan showed me there is a world beyond meat. Growing up in a Caribbean household I have consumed all types of meat, from chicken, lamb, beef, fish and exotic meats such as deer, possum (tattoo) and iguana.  As young men, we are indoctrinated to believe that strength comes from the consumption of meat, which I adhered to as a religion. Young men need “meat” to qualify as “real men."  Imagine, I am 6'3'' with a slim, long, athletic build. When I became vegan for health reasons, I was told I needed “meat” to put on weight. Society has conditioned us to genuinely believe that weight can only be achieved when we have meat on our plates.  Hegemonic toxic black masculinity is in dire need of decolonization for us as black people. My manhood is not determined by my meat consumption. I am my own man. Manhood is taking care of my environment and my temple which is my body.

The reality is that you are either the oppressor or the one who is being oppressed. To truly become a conscious responsible person who cares about Mother Nature,  we have to became responsible inhabitants of Earth. Mother Nature, to me, is the real God who dictates the course of life. It’s time to value life over taste. We were once, and are still, dehumanized as a people, and animalized. We are likened to all breeds of animals, yet we consume them.

How can we attach such a powerful and positive adjective like “humane” to slaughter? Slaughter is slaughter. Rape is rape. Veganism is trending and we are morally waking up from the meat matrix we reside in. I took a pill and I have never slept since. I am also a master's student in race, media, and social justice. I study colonialism, and I have learned that the ecology of the planet has changed, in addition to our diets as black people. It's imperative that we return to our roots.

My Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/theshaunflores/

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