Rapper Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) and Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul recently deepened their stake in the vegan food arena with a recent investment in Misha’s Kind Foods, a Black-owned company that specializes in plant-based cheese. Jigga’s Marcy Ventures Partners Fund and the 11x NBA All-Star raised $3 million in a seed round for the three-year-old brand, and the money will go towards growing the staff, expanding the company’s retail footprint, and research and development.
“The mission of Misha’s directly aligns with our values. When we first discovered Misha’s, we found some immediate synergies,” said Jay Brown, co-founder of Marcy Venture Partners, in a statement. “We embrace companies that value sustainability, empowerment, inclusivity, accessibility, convenience, health and wellness, and personal expression.”
Jay-Z and Paul are two of the biggest celebrities who are taking a greater interest in the vegan lifestyle. This deal broadens their respective portfolios in that vertical market accordingly. In 2019, Hov became an investor in Impossible Foods as well as Partake Foods, a Black-owned start-up whose specialty is allergen-free vegan cookies. In addition, Paul made the move to a full-time vegan diet in 2019, when he became an ambassador for Beyond Meat and has experienced increased on-court production since the shift.
“These investors, and their enthusiasm, not only confirm the quality and excellence of our artisan cheeses, but they also align with our long-term vision and mission,” said Aaron Bullock, CEO of Misha’s Kind Foods. “I’m confident having these investors at the table will be vital to the future growth of the company as they bring valuable cultural instincts, branding knowledge as well as operations and growth expertise.”
Veganism is blossoming among the African-American community. According to an oft-cited 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center, 8% of Black Americans identify as strict vegetarian versus 3% of the general population. And the amount of Blacks who are “vegan-curious” is almost certainly much higher, influenced by the likes of Andre 3000, Erykah Badu, and Drake.
“I think we can improve traditional soul food,” Bullock told The Root. “Soul food is the food that feeds the soul and keeps the community alive. That’s soul food. And soul food was the food that we were given but with all of our strength, all of our creativity, made good. So what [co-founder chef Ian Martin] and I have endeavored to do is to provide ways we can take food and make it soul food and healthy soul food.”