Entrepreneur, spoken word artist, and advocate Jay Brave has opened up about identity, society, and veganism.
In an exclusive interview for the Plant Based Newspodcast, he told PBN Co-founder Robbie Lockie that his vegan journey started in his mind.
“Going vegan just like any massive behavioural change in your life isn’t something you just snap your fingers and do overnight,” he says. “It really takes the mental work to be able to prepare yourself to stick to something – and become part of your own confirmation bias in your own life.”
Brave also tackled the issue of why the majority of vegans are women, saying: “The majority of my following is also [like PBN‘s] women. I would like to think it’s because of my good looks, but I’m more led to believe it’s because the path I have chosen to follow in life is one very much represented through the words on my website – an activist and an empath.
“The key to empathy is obviously compassion because you have to be on a level with other people. In my formal education through Iife I’ve been at boys’ school a lot, and at elite educational establishments where men and boys are very much pushed to not even see your other male colleagues as not friends, but as friendly competition.
“This is something which is geared up from a very young age. It is pathologised into use from sports day, from everything, that the competition to be apex as a man. And that measure of being apex as a man is the ability to devastate, to break collateral with the least breaking of sweat…that permeates throughout our society…society is constructed to give accolades to those behaviors.”
Speaking about identity and politics, Brave says: “I’m going to talk about the political idea of being black: when people hear me say I don’t identify as black it becomes very problematical straight away because they don’t understand what I mean.
“What I like to explain to people is that I’m not like O.J Simpson. I’m not here going ‘I’m not black, I’m Jay Brave’, I’m here saying to you I choose not to identify as black although I acknowledge the fact that I live the black experience, because what we share, people of the African diaspora, around the world we share a black experience because that is a diametric relationship which relates to how we are treated in society.
“That does not necessarily mean in any way, shape or form that my identity has to be framed by the behavior of how I’m treated by other people. When you listen and find out in a lot of different African languages there is no word to describe each other as black – because again, when you’re on the continent with each other long before colonial powers and people come along – there is no need to describe where there is no difference with everybody. The difference has come in more recent times.”