Vegan Queen Tabitha Brown visits Memphis: A pinch of sugar, a dash of spice, and a whole lot of love

Tabitha Brown arrives at the world premiere of "Pinocchio" on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at Walt...
Tabitha Brown arrives at the world premiere of "Pinocchio" on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2022, at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)(Richard Shotwell | Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 4:33 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2023 at 4:53 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The reigning queen of veganism and a social media maven, Tabitha Brown is the epitome of the American dream. Hailing from North Carolina, Brown’s rise to fame is just as fascinating and colorful as she is.

Action News 5 met with Brown at Plant-Based Heat, a vegan hotspot here in Bluff City. When we arrived, we were met with a grin and an aura that could only be described as earthly and soul-warming. Her presence is disarmingly cozy, like a hug from a dear friend.

Not only that, Tabitha is self-assured. She walks, talks, and breathes her passion and that makes her all the more captivating.

Action News 5 Producer Joel Griffin Moore (left), and Tabitha Brown (right) at Plant-Based Heat...
Action News 5 Producer Joel Griffin Moore (left), and Tabitha Brown (right) at Plant-Based Heat Restaurant in Memphis(Action News 5)

As if the sweet-spicy aroma wafting from Plant-Based Heat’s kitchen wasn’t distracting enough, Tabitha Brown has the sort of southern, earnest personality that makes you want to chit-chat with her till sunrise.

Brown was as genuine as you’d imagine her to be. Her famous hair, which she has christened with the name Donna, was styled and twisted in a hip, modern look she jokingly deemed her “twistcation.”

We began our interview with a word of thanks, not only for the wisdom she’s poured into the Black community, but for the love that she naturally emits. In person, you realize that it truly is just a part of her.

Brown is no stranger to her fair share of struggles. In the beginning of her career, she battled with her own identity, a problem that seems so foreign now. “In my early career, I thought I had to conform,” Brown told us. “Just thinking I had to try to fit in. Looking a certain way, talking a certain way, dressing a certain way. That was really something that I had to overcome.”

Her start was as an actress, and she still practices the craft. Now of course, with her media success, her acting career has reached new heights. “Now, I can work from a place of freedom. I can show up as myself. That gives me the ability as an actor to really explore characters differently.”

A champion and poster child for owning your health and identity, Brown has spoken candidly about her experiences with “code switching,” a practice in the Black community that we adapted for survival in the professional space. ”Just being able to show up as myself is amazing. Putting on a fake persona is exhausting. I’ve learned that I am enough. We don’t have to do that anymore. It is so freeing to just be you,” Tabitha spoke with the directness and confidence of a teacher, “I love who I am now. It feels amazing to let go of all that.”

Faith and family comes first in her life. “My faith has changed so much. It is so much deeper now. And this level of faith wasn’t taught to me. It is a gift that was given to me.”

When speaking of her children, she shared her wishes for them. “I wish for my children that they follow their dreams and get their desires,” she stated. “I want them to always put their freedom first, and to know that they can knock down any door that gets in their way.”

Lastly, we were quite curious to know if Tabitha Brown has a special recipe for success. “The real key to success is being truthful and consistent. That is what has worked for me.” She also shared with us one of the hardest lessons about success she’s had to learn: “Not everybody can go with you. It’s sad. You will have to leave some people behind. Not because you want to, but because they are just not ready.”

With it all said and done, Brown’s stardom is so rare. Her worth doesn’t come from a shallow, vain place— it comes from the very essence of who she is. It’s sort of a mystery, really. That special ingredient that no one can quite put their finger on.

The dearly departed Burt Bacharach once wrote, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing there is just too little of.” No matter the heights that Tabitha Brown reaches, it is the love that she shares that makes her so priceless.

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