After sharing her vegan recipes online, TikTok star, actress and vegan influencer Tabitha Brown has gained mega success in the last four years. It led to partnerships with Whole Foods, Target, an all-purpose seasoning line that sold out of 100,000 units in 39 minutes of its release this year, and her dream acting gig on Showtime’s “The Chi.”
Last month, the actress became a New York Times best-selling author for her book, “Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)” and now she’ll host a children’s program titled “Tab Time.”
We caught up with Tabitha Brown to discuss her experience hosting a Black woman-led children’s show after comparisons to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which aired on PBS from 1968 to 2001.
“I wanted to bring a Mister Rogers feel back to television. People would always compare us and say, ‘You remind us of Mr. Rogers, and I think, ‘how?’ she laughs. “But then I started looking at him and what he stood for, and we do have a lot of similarities. We are passionate about children, about compassion, kindness and love. He was also a vegan or vegetarian. A lot of people don’t realize.”
The 42-year-old completed her colorful, nostalgic set with items from home, including a chair her mother bought her 20 years ago and a “Miss Polly” doll she played with as a child.
“It feels like home. So when I invite people in, I’m inviting them into my space, inviting the children to feel like they’re at home with my staff,” Brown explained before giving credit to her “creative partnership” with YouTube, her companies Scale Productions and Scales Management, and Jason Berger, founder of Kids at Play studio, and executive producer of ‘Tab Time’ series.
More importantly, “Ms. Tab” wants children who watch “Tab Time” “to understand their life is their business. How they feel is their business and to be vocal about it or have a way of communicating about it.”
“Tab Time” will also feature weekly guests such as comedian Lil Rel for the debut episode, followed by Karamo Brown, Cynthia Irivo, and “Fast & Furious” star Jordana Brewster, and voiceovers from Lena Waithe, Carlos Colman and Miles Brown and comedians Zainab Johnson and Affion Crockett.
Brown is planning on having a second New York Times bestseller on her hands with her upcoming vegan cookbook, featuring some of the famous recipes she’s gone viral for since 2016. At the time, she was battling massive headaches and chronic pain throughout her head and body. She said she was desperate for a solution after doctors were unable to diagnose her.
“They just couldn’t figure it out. When somebody keeps telling you, ‘I’m sorry, we know something’s wrong, but we can’t tell you how,’ it is so frustrating,” Brown explained. “Then I fell into depression. Excuse me, I started having panic attacks and it was just a tough time for me. A very dark time, and then my daughter, [Choyce] came home from school and she said, ‘Momma, we saw a documentary at school. I think you should watch it.’ “
Brown’s health became more stable after she adopted the vegan lifestyle and watched Netflix’s “What the Health?” followed by a 30-day vegan food challenge. Before she knew it, she was inspiring non-vegans to try her vegan recipes, gaining nearly four million on Instragram.
“So that’s why I started doing videos about food simply because God told me to do so,” she said. “And then, when I first started, wasn’t nobody watching, like 30 people and then maybe four months or so, December 30th of 2017 is when I did the video eating the sandwich in my car, the TTLA Whole Foods,” she said of a particular Whole Foods sandwich. “That video went viral and changed my entire life. And four years later, honey here we are. Got on TikTok last year and the rest is history. Or herstory. Okay?”
After spending the past 15 years building a life of freedom, Brown recently supported her husband, Chance Brown, in his retirement from a career as a police officer. The vegan star is also opening her first restaurant in Los Angeles as co-owner of Kale My Name. She appreciates any opportunity where she can show up as her most authentic self.
“This may be the book of Tabitha, and I want to make sure I do it right…when they tell my story,” she added.
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