Billie Eilish and Chris Paul have signed on as executive producers of the new food justice documentary They’re Trying to Kill Us.
The film was co-directed by vegan influencer and activist John Lewis and filmmaker Keegan Kuhn, who also co-directed the 2014 film Cowspiracy.
A follow-up feature length documentary to Kuhn’s 2017 film, What the Health, They’re Trying to Kill Us explores the intersections between systemic racism and diet as told “through the lens of Hip Hop and urban culture.” It also follows Lewis’ quest to discover why Black Americans suffer disproportionately higher rates of chronic disease than their white counterparts.
Eilish and Paul, who are both vegans, regularly speak out about the importance of eating plant-based. The Grammy Award-winning musician, who eschewed meat and dairy back in 2014, has previously supported Support + Feed, an initiative founded by her mother, Maggie Baird. The organization works to bring nutritious, plant-based meals to communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBA All-Star, who ditched animal products in 2019, previously teamed up with Atlanta’s popular plant-based burger chain, Slutty Vegan, buying out all three of the company’s locations to help feed the local community.
In August, he also invested in plant-based nutritional shake brand Koia to help make vegan foods more accessible to underserved communities. The duo introduced vending machines on ten HBCU campuses, including Winston-Salem State University.
“They’re Trying to Kill Us”
They’re Trying to Kill Us premiered online at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 19. Also known as Juneteenth, the day commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans. Two days prior, the Biden Administration signed a bill into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
The film highlights the importance of Black culture and Hip Hop in influencing the issue of food justice, diving into topics like food deserts, nutritional and environmental racism, animal welfare, and global warming, among other issues. Put simply, intersectional justice is front and center.
“If our idea of justice is narrowly focused only on animals used and abused in farms then we are practicing speciesism in my opinion,” Kuhn explained. “We must incorporate all aspects of injustice in the vegan movement otherwise we are just as bad as any other single issue movement that doesn’t see the interconnectedness and intersections of oppressive systems.”
The documentary features commentary from a number of Hip Hop artists and activists, including Angela Yee, Mya, Ne-yo, and Styles P. It also includes interviews with researchers, doctors, politicians, professional athletes, including Paul, and other experts in the field of food justice.
“Hip Hop is arguably the most influential art form in modern history. What Hip Hop artists say, wear, drive, eat and drink influences their fans unlike any other genre,” said Lewis. “We wanted to give an opportunity for so many notable artists to speak about their own passion for food and health. We felt it was really important to have a film squarely focused on the experiences of Americans of Color, because sadly the mainstream vegan movement has largely ignored or overlooked us.”
“I want people to feel empowered after watching the film,” Lewis continued. “I want audiences to feel inspired and encouraged to take their health back, to take their communities back, and to come together to restructure our food system.”
They’re Trying to Kill Us will be released on November 11 on the film’s website for a $20 download fee.