Reading Time: 2 minutes The Plant Grants program is helping Black-owned businesses hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic Credit: Gage Skidmore
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is teaming up with vegan cheese giant Violife to launch a grants program in order to support Black-owned restaurants.

Announced today, Plant Grants is designed to provide financial aid to businesses struck by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RZA plant-based program

Moreover, it will include a funding package, education, and mentorship program. 

The rapper, whose real name is Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, hopes it will make plant-based food more accessible, affordable, and sustainable.

In a statement sent to PBN, he added: “The influence of hip-hop and the culinary history of plant-based eating in Black communities contribute to a movement of embracing meatless options.

“I’m proud to support Plant Grants to continue this movement and make plant-based eating more readily available at Black-owned restaurants that are at the heart of communities.”

Additionally, menu coaching will be available from two plant-based pioneering chefs, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandler.

Chandler owns Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, and Durrah is behind the catering company, Compton Vegan.

Plant Grants

The inaugural program is focussing on Black-owned businesses this year because the pandemic disproportionately affected them, the company said.

Moreover, restaurants were hit particularly hard due to restrictions.

Funding available is $20,000 for the program, which is open to applications from now until July 31. Selected grantees will be announced this September.

Violife partnership

The grant is funded by Violife, a brand under Upfield US. Of which, Chief Marketing Officer for North America is Brian Orlando. In a statement, Orlando said the company is ‘excited’ to work with community-based chefs and restauranteurs.

‘Now with the new Plant Grants program, we can expand and promote their incredible efforts in an impactful way’, Orlando added.

It’s with a view to helping develop new menu items and create dishes to inspire more people to eat plant-based food.

This is because, Orlando said, ‘they are delicious and better for you and better for the planet’.


The rapper RZA has long talked about his passion for animals.

Moreover, he has launched both a vegan puffer jacket made from recycled plastic bottles and a wallet made from banana trees.

He’s also partnered with PETA in the past to encourage people to stop buying animal fur, feather, and fins.

To find out more, and to apply visit Plant Grants here

Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.