They’re Trying to Kill Us: An Exclusive Interview with Badass Vegan John Lewis
Renowned fitness expert, social justice activist, and longtime vegan John Lewis has teamed up with award-winning co-director of What the Health and Cowspiracy Keegan Kuhn to produce a groundbreaking new film: They’re Trying to Kill Us.
The film uses hip hop to show how diet, disease, poverty, and systemic racism are all connected. We sat down with Lewis to discuss the film and get a sneak peek into this exciting and important project.
Congratulations on your groundbreaking project They’re Trying to Kill Us! What inspired you to tackle the intersection of diet, disease, poverty, and systemic racism?
I thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I would say the main reason for making this film was watching my own family go through diet-related diseases and systemic racism themselves. I believe that I am not alone in this journey, and I believe everyone can heal themselves and the generational trauma if we take the power back into our own hands. Once I noticed that there were powers put in place that kept certain individuals and demographics from flourishing, I started to pay attention to the remedies that would help these certain groups of people outlast systemic racism.
You’re collaborating with Keegan Kuhn. What’s the story behind your relationship? How did you decide to pursue this project?
Keegan and I have been friends for around seven years. Well, we’ve known each other for quite some time; we had never worked together before. One day Keegan told me that he would love to work with me on a film but didn’t know how to reach more people. I told him, “Whatever we do, let’s focus on people of color because they really need our help.” And he said, “That’s great, but how do we do that?” I quickly responded, “Hip hop.” Hip hop is the most influential genre ever, and I knew that if we used the power of hip hop, we could get more people to see the power of food and food justice and how it is important for the overall picture of social justice.
If viewers took away one idea from this film, what would you want it to be? What impact do you hope the film has?
The main objective and the main purpose is for the viewers to have the idea of self-empowerment. I want people to understand that they have a right to good food and they have a right to social justice. I want them to understand that everyone, no matter the economic background, social background, financial background, skin color, etc.—it doesn’t matter; we all deserve justice. But I also want them to understand that just because we all deserve justice doesn’t mean it’s going to be handed to us. We have to fight for what is ours, and we have to show ownership of it.
When will They’re Trying to Kill Us be finished? Where can our audience expect to watch it?
We expect the film to be released at the end of 2020. We are still working on the outlet in which the movie will be featured. That should come toward the end of the year as well.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has shown so much support so far to our crowdfunding campaign and the support on social media, from everyone that contributed to everyone that has reposted and shared the trailer of the film.