Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is partnering with the vegan cheese company Violife to support Black-owned restaurants nationwide. The partnership will launch a grant program called Plant Grants that was developed to provide financial assistance to businesses and restaurants that faced hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Plant Grants initiatives hope to support the Black-owned businesses that suffered disproportionately during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The influence of hip-hop and the culinary history of plant-based eating in Black communities contribute to a movement of embracing meatless options,” RZA told Plant Based News. “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.”
RZA hopes that this grant program will help those who felt irreversibly hurt by the financial disaster that followed the pandemic. The Plant Grants program aims to also make plant-based food more accessible and sustainable by helping these businesses during this time.
The funding package brought from the partnership will also include an education and mentorship program to guide those affected back to stable ground. The menu coaching will be led by two plant-based chefs, Lemel Durrah and Laricia Chandler. The two vegan pioneers have led the plant-based movement for years and now hope to help restaurant improve their plant-based offerings. Currently, Chandler owns and operates Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat, and Durrah runs the catering company Compton Vegan.
Violife and RZA released a statement claiming that the initial program will be dedicated to supporting Black-owned businesses hurting financially. Specifically, the joint leadership will focus on restaurants as the most affected business during the restrictions and quarantine period. The funding will be available at $20,000 in the program and 5 restaurants will be choosen. The program is currently open for application until July 31st, and the selected businesses will be notified in September of this year.