Usher’s music will never go out of style. The minute Yeah! or Confessions plays on the radio, the whole car is guaranteed to break out in song. Usher showed us on Verizon’s Twitter series Pay It Forward Live he’s still got it, and made us fall in love with him even more (if that’s possible) after he revealed he’s plant-based.
Usher and his team of producers went live on Verizon’s Twitter where they played his hit songs and talked about how we can “Pay It Forward” in our communities. Sitting by his side was famous hip hop producer and writer Jermaine Dupri (or as Usher calls him JD) and Bryan Michael Cox. The hour-long performance was meant to help small local businesses but also gave an inside look into the work dynamic between Usher and his producers.
Behind the Scenes with Usher and Jermaine Dupri, Longtime Vegan Hip Hop Producer
You may be familiar with Jermaine Dupri, lifelong vegan as well as hit producer and songwriter for artists like Usher and Mariah Carrey. He is a legend in the music world and the vegan world, too. Dupri’s motto is, “Feel the beets. Lose the meats.” He has been more than a producer, writer, and mentor– he has been a great friend of Usher’s for many years. When talking about Dupri, Usher says, “He helps me articulate what I’m going through … to be motivated to go after certain things.”
This isn’t Usher’s first foray into losing the meat. He ate a vegan diet back in 2012 but claimed it was too expensive for him and started calling himself a “meat-eating vegan.” Eight years later, fast forward to this week, and Usher says he is committed to eating plant-based once again. He said, “It’s important to know that a healthy option is plant-based. I’ve actually started a journey myself. JD too, is also a great supporter of plant-based as well as a vegan lifestyle.”
Why did Usher start eating plant-based now? He says it’s to boost his immune system. During COVID-19 the healthy moves you can make to strengthen immunity has never been so important. “I want you guys to understand that boosting your healthy immune system is also too what you eat, not just staying inside,” Usher said, referring to the sheltering restrictions.
Usher’s latest revelations about his plant-based diet came after he gave a shoutout to Chef Shay and her vegan cooking business Vegenaire. Chef Shay is part of J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator, started by Usher’s mother, Jonneta Patton. J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator is “a state-of-the-art 2,100 square foot kitchen facility in Atlanta, GA, created to furnish early-stage business support to culinary entrepreneurs” according to its website.
Chef Shay explained, “Veganaire was created to make comfort food for people curious about plant-based or faux meat.” She is still in the process of growing her business but eventually she wants Veganaire to become “global like McDonald’s.”
Usher has been working closely with Chef Shay and her sous chefs to donate 2,000 meals to shelters, community centers and families in need of healthy food options across Clayton County, Georgia. Some of the tasty options they are distributing include vegan spaghetti, vegan meatloaf and vegan chocolate chip cookies. Usher brought Chef Shay on the Live video chat where they dove into what Veganaire represents. Usher said, “The cool thing about this is, kids love lasagna, they love meatloaf. I wanted to create something that would be nourishing, filling, and a hearty meal, so that’s what we put together.”
Chef Shay doesn’t want to force or scare people into eating vegan. Instead she shows how plant-based food can be delicious and healthy. She said, “Vegenaire isn’t trying to make anyone change their lifestyle. We just want people to know its ok to eat healthy and normal.’
This particular segment stood out from the other IGTVs or Twitter lives because if you had stumbled upon it you would’ve thought these are just old friends kicking back and making music. But Usher took the opportunity to raise the bar and add a call to action. He told fans essentially to look at their diet in light of the COVID-19 time frame. And by turning his performance into a call to action and offering something personal and meaningful for his fans, this event made news. “The silver lining is now is the chance for us to get better while we’re at home,” said Usher.
We hope all of his fans listen to Usher: Stay healthy and boost your immune system with a plant-based diet.