People seem to be connecting with vegan foodie Tabitha Brown, not only for her yummy-looking vegan recipes and Southern charm but because she’s mom.
TikTok is known as a social media platform for young people. About 50 percent of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 and 26 percent is between 18 and 24, according to Omni Core digital marketing agency. But 41-year-old Brown has taken the short-form video platform by storm.
And to think Brown didn’t post her first video on TikTok until March 8. Since then, she has amassed more than 2 million followers and more than a million on Instagram.
With each meal, Brown dishes up a dose of encouragement, inspirational words and spirituality. She’s like the cool, Afro-wearing aunt you like hanging out with.
Hailing from Eden, N.C., Brown lives in the Chatsworth section of Los Angeles. She always had dreams of being an actress, but her dream got deferred more than a few times — once after she became a mom, another time when she had to take care of her ailing mother, and yet again when she injured her back and was put out of commission for years, The New York Times reported.
But Brown kept pushing forward, even though she admits to some “dark” times. She often uses her videos to share her experiences and positivity.
“Don’t you give up, don’t you quit, don’t give up,” she says in one video. “Baby, you ain’t done came this far just to get this far; you still got a ways to go. And I know right now it almost feels impossible, but don’t you give up.”
What’s significant is that it has long been a complaint of Black TikTok creators that they don’t get their due or their content is appropriated. Brown has pushed through those barriers.
Brown makes her videos a family affair, often featuring her daughter, Choyce, 18; her son, Quest, 8; and her husband, Chance.
“If somebody has one minute per day, and they get to have a little bit of joy for one minute, I want to be there,” she said in an interview. “It’s part of the reason why, when I do my video, I hold my phone so close to my face. I want somebody to feel like it’s me and you at this moment.”
As a result of her new social media fame, Brown has inked a deal with Creative Artists Agency, the powerhouse Los Angeles talent agency, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Brown also landed a guest role in an episode of “Will and Grace” that aired earlier this year. And she said she was developing a docuseries featuring her family.
Doing her videos on TikTok has helped Brown not just work-wise but emotionally, she said. After her mother, who suffered from ALS, died in 2007, Brown threw herself into acting, getting a few roles in independent and straight-to-DVD films. But after giving birth to Quest, she developed chronic pain and fatigue and ended up on disability.
Brown wound up being unemployed for more than a year and ultimately turned to driving for Uber to make ends meet. Then in December 2017, Brown walked into a Whole Foods after dropping off a client and purchased a vegan breakfast wrap.
Brown had been eating vegan a few months already and for fun, she filmed herself as she praised the wrap and posted the video on Facebook. By the time she had finished her shift, the video had been viewed 50,000 times, The New York Times reported. Not long after, Whole Foods contacted her about being a brand ambassador. She appeared in commercials and traveled around the country to speak about veganism, The Huffington Post reported.
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Still, despite her success on Facebook, Brown was hesitant about TikTok. She considered herself too old for the platform until her daughter persuaded her to give it a try.
“She picked it up pretty quick,” Choyce said. “I just thought she would be a good fit because she’s really comforting.”
Brown was literally an instant hit.
“I became the auntie everybody loves, and it just kept growing,” Brown said.
“I’m thankful that God gave me light again, and to be light for other people’s darkness is a responsibility that I take very seriously. That’s why I do it.”