Continuing Clean Living Week here on the blog, is another friend of mine who recently went vegan.
You may not know Dana Young, but you probably have heard of her husband, singer L. Young. He is a ridiculously talented musician who has made several popular YouTube videos:
I’ve been friends with Dana dating back to high school (keep the age jokes to yourself now). She recently went vegan and I had to speak with her how it was like being black vegan since it’s still not a popular way of life within our community. We talk about the challenges she’s faced, why she decided to homeschool her children, and her unexpected favorite dinner.
For those who don’t know you, introduce yourself!
My name is Dana Young. I am married with lots of kids. Lol! I am a creative mind and love learning new things…anything that helps me do life better!!
Describe your parenting style.
I am pretty much an authoritative parent. But also recognize that there are times I need to allow my children the freedom to feel what they feel and express themselves in whatever manner they see fit as long as it’s respectful.
You have two older children (Isaiah, 21 and Laurelle, 14) and two small children (Isa, 6, and Omega, 2). What lessons did you learn from your oldest children that you’re doing (or even won’t do) with your youngest?
When I had my first I was 18 years old. I knew NOTHING about being a parent of course and I was just growing up myself. We learned together. I was so strict though. I was unbending and strict. I didn’t allow my oldest to have a voice of his own. MY voice was his voice. It proved to be a little detrimental in his development…but by the time I had Isa (third child) I was a lot older and more knowledgeable about how to parent each of my children.
You’re married to singer L. Young, who’s known worldwide for his amazing YouTube videos. How is it like being married to someone in the industry and he’s constantly traveling?
You know…you definitely have to be unselfish, understanding and patient even more than in a marriage with someone who’s not in the business. It’s hard to plan things too much ahead of time because it can all change at the last minute. It’s a lot of sharing and making a lot of sacrifices. But as long as we are having GOOD communication with each other we have very few issues.
You met and fell in love with L. when you had pre-teens and I didn’t know about this, he already had children! (Not pictured are Kymrence, 23; Khalil, 21, and Kennedy, 17.) What advice would you give to single mothers who are dating or about to start?
L had 3 children before we met and I had 2 and now we have 2 together. SEVEN kids! I would say to any single mom…don’t wait too long to introduce your kids to the man your spending free time with. It’s imperative that you see how he interacts with them. If he doesn’t ask about them or show any concern for them then don’t waste your time with him.
You recently became vegan and you told me that while most people are encouraging, there have been some pushback from others. This is a two-part question:
Are you the only vegan in your family? If so, how are you adjusting to your new lifestyle? If not, how is the family adjusting?
Being a black vegan, have you run into any challenges and misconceptions about black people and what we “should” be eating?
Our whole family is vegan…actually we are considered plant-based (because we do eat honey). My husband actually watched “What The Health” and was so moved that he sat me down and we watched together. We immediately stopped eating me and dairy and haven’t turned back. The kids has adjusted wonderfully. Kids have a way of eating whatever you feed them when they’re hungry. But they have actually adapted to the lifestyle and haven’t looked back!
Before becoming vegan I had the misconception that Veganism was a “white people” thing. Come to find out Veganism is actually an African thing. I had no clue there were so many black vegan groups and that sooooo many black people lived the vegan lifestyle. It really was refreshing to find this out!!! It’s made the transition that much easier.
You are homeschooling your youngest. What made you decide to go into homeschooling? What are the challenges you’re facing?
My husband and I talked around homeschooling when Isa (6) was a baby. We were just disappointed in some of the curriculum in public schools…especially regarding American history…and we always said that if we weren’t financially able to put our kids in private school that we would homeschool them.
I researched the best way to homeschool for 2 years before making the decision to go with a public school online. It was easier for me because there are so many different types of curriculum and it was getting a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what was best. We decided to go with Connections Academy which is a California public school.
We started with our daughter, Laurelle, (Isa wasn’t old enough to start school). She was starting the seventh grade at the time. The main challenge at first was keeping her focused. That 7th grade year was TOUGH! But she got through it ok.
The next year we had her and Isa enrolled. She thrived and Isa did great too! His main challenge was staying focused. He sooo busy and always moving so I’ve had to find ways to keep him focused. Some other challenges have been making sure he gets enough time with children his age and has plenty of activities outside our house.
Connections is GREAT with that as they have at least 5-6 field trips to choose from per month. All in all it’s been an awesome experience. Laurelle is now going to traditional high school and is doing great! Isa will be starting 1st grade after Labor Day and I am so excited to see what this year brings for him!
Race has been brought to the forefront once again in our country, which is growing more divided by the day. Have you had “The Talk” with your children? If so, how did that go?
Yes! We’ve have some form of “The Talk” with all of the kids. We feel it’s imperative to have lots of “talks” with our children with regard to where they are in their thinking. We keep the lines of communication open in our house and we keep it real!!
Looking back at your life up until now, what is the one event you could say, ‘Hmm…I probably should’ve thought about that one a bit more.’ It could be any event. It’s not necessarily a regret; it could also be a triumph. But what is something that happened that makes you wonder, ‘I probably should’ve thought that one through…’
Oh there are so many things/events that I probably could have done different. The main thing I would have done differently is just not be afraid to be myself or to be judged. People are always going to judge every decision you make. Find people who are in your corner…not YES men/women…but people who genuinely care for your overall well being and are on the same path you’re on.
Fun time! Name five fun facts about you.
- I am the one who puts the furniture together in my house! I absolutely LOVE it!! Thank God for a husband who doesn’t feel threatened by it! But yeah…should have been an engineer or something.
- My dream home has about 10 different rooms…all with different themes.
- My favorite dinner is fruit loops and almond milk.
- I am obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleaning my baby’s noses.
- It may be cliche, but I really do fall in love with my husband every single day.
Thank you so much to my friend, Dana, for her interview! Thank you for sharing some light on what it means to be a black vegan!
I leave the interview with a popular performance from her hubby! It’s actually my new favorite video:
For more information on L. Young, visit the following: