Jasmine Leyva, director of “The Invisible Vegan”

Jasmine Leyva—a filmmaker and actress, who directed, and appears in, “The Invisible Vegan,” a new documentary that explores various cultural challenges and implications within the black community when some decide to go vegan, or contemplate doing so—recalls her background growing up in Washington, D.C. and her early interest in the entertainment industry. This prompted her to relocate to Los Angeles for college, studying television and film, going on to get a master’s degree. She discusses her assortment of early showbiz jobs, including working on such TV programs as “My Black Is Beautiful,” noting that through stints on multiple documentary series, she saw up close how those programs got streamlined—invaluable experience, later, when fashioning “The Invisible Vegan.” Leyva cites some of the docs about going vegan she watched in preparation for making her own, and which ones affected and impressed her the most. She also addresses the rationale for deciding she would serve as an onscreen presence in the film—kind of narrator-meets-interviewee—acknowledging that she felt her story was emblematic of the overall narrative she wanted her film to deliver. Leyva touches on the attitude, not uncommon in the black community that going vegan is a “white people thing,” an attitude she admits film she wasn’t immune to—and the attendant lack of understanding of the cultural heritage inherent to that position. Leyva talks about the array of physicians (including Dr. Milton Mills), and nutrition experts who appear in “The Invisible Vegan,” as well as high-profile figures like Cedric The Entertainer, Stic Man of Dead Prez, and former NBA star John Salley, and how she secured their participation. She also notes the various avenues through which people can watch the film, most of which are detailed on the website. (https://www.theinvisiblevegan.com)

 

COMEDY CORNER: Wanda Sykes’  “Cooking Dinner” (https://www.wandasykes.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,”  Dead Prez’s “Be Healthy” (portion), Aloe Blacc’s “Femme Fatale,”  instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Rufus Thomas’ “Walking The Dog”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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