The internet’s most effective ambassador of Black Girl Joy recently cried public tears of happiness. “I just got off the phone with my team!” the author of Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom, told her Facebook audience in the molasses-coated southern drawl they’ve come to rely on for candor and comfort. (Hundreds of fans have signed a “Make Tabitha Brown the Voice of Siri” petition on change.org.)
“My book made the New York Times Best-Sellers List! But not just that, I’m No. 1! I’m No. 1! You know how sometimes you do stuff, and you do it with no expectation? And then God just blows your mind, honey! That’s the moment I’m in, honey …”.
Brown first captivated viewers with homey, hilarious cooking videos featuring mouth-watering vegan meals. She also served up wisdom about resilience inspired by the life lessons she’s learned as a struggling actress, Uber driver, call center agent, nursing home attendant, warehouse employee, wife, mother, caregiving daughter, chronic-pain sufferer, sexual assault survivor.
At midlife, “Tab,” as she’s known to fans, is manifesting a lifetime of dreams. “I’m still kind of in a moment of shock …,” she continued during her emotional announcement. “I don’t even know what to say. Thank y’all for buying my book, and for supporting me and telling people about me … I can’t even believe my life right now, y’all … It’s just a long time coming.”
Speaking of a long time coming, there’s more than a few of us who came late to the positivity party that is Tabitha Brown. That’s because the 40-something force of nature first blew up on TikTok, not OG platforms FB, Twitter or Insta. But a funny thing happened during quarantine to the social platform built for teens: Its users got older and older. A place where you can come as you are, be who you are, unwind from stress and dance in your pajamas with your whole family while not wearing makeup? So 2020. Brown herself first joined the platform to perform one of those ubiquitous TikTok dance challenges with her daughter Choyce, 20. A year and a half later, her followers number 5 million.
Join Sisters From AARP on Facebook this Tuesday, November 9, at 7 PM ET/ 4 PM PT, when Tabitha will talk with us via video about fear, faith, food, family, fun, following our dreams and the fantastic things that can happen when we show up as we truly are.
"During a time where a lot of people were struggling, I could see the soul needed to be fed more than our stomachs," Brown told People. "I needed to share my stories with people on how I've gotten through the toughest times in life. I call those recipes as well, but it's just a recipe for life."
Now, the vegan mega-influencer, actress and NAACP Image Award winner has a TV series in the works with the creator of Will & Grace, and a recurring role on The Chi as a character created for her by Lena Waithe. She’s wrapped production on a children’s TV series. She is host of the Ellen original web series All Love.
Her mission in the kitchen is heating up, too. She’s released a salt-free all-purpose “Sunshine” seasoning blend with McCormick. A cookbook is on the front burner. She’s been an ambassador for Whole Foods. When Tiffany Haddish guest-hosted on Ellen, she invited her girl Tabitha (they’ve known each other since both were hustling to land bit parts and comedy-club gigs in a Hollywood system that’s hostile to brown girls) to cook up a little sumthin’ sumthin’. Plant-based, of course. She's opening a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles.
Brown, admits that there was a time when the word “vegan” conjured up images of “white women doing yoga in a field.” She’s a small-town girl who grew up in Eden, North Carolina, and occasionally found squirrel and possum on the plate, in addition to seafood, beef and pork (her granddad was a hunter). But that all changed when she was desperate to find relief from a cascade of debilitating health problems and related anxiety and depression. When conventional medicine couldn’t diagnose or heal her, she turned to plant-based eating. Symptoms began clearing by the second week.
Still, if you think Brown promotes strict self-denial along with all that veggie goodness, you’d be wrong. “I love a glass of Syrah wine,” she told Bustle. “I call it ‘Sarah’ because she’s my friend.”
You just might want to pour yourself a glass of wine and join Sisters From AARP on Facebook this Tuesday, November 9, at 7 PM ET/ 4 PM PT, when Tabitha will talk with us via video about fear, faith, food, family, fun, following our dreams and the fantastic things that can happen when we show up as we truly are.