The predominantly vegan rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, now has a Staten Island intersection named in their honor, the “Wu-Tang Clan District,” formerly the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Targee Street.
The group hails from Staten Island, where founding members RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1968-2004), Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Masta Killa got their start (Masta Killa, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and GZA hailed from Brooklyn).
The move comes as New York City recognized several other iconic music legends including the folk singer Woody Guthrie, who died in 1967 at age 55 from the neurological disorder Huntington’s disease, and Christopher Wallace, best known as the rapper Biggie Smalls, who was killed in 1997.
“I’m happy that NYC officials are finally giving the city’s indigenous ‘Hip Hop’ music the respect and recognition that it deserves,” Brooklyn artist LeRoy McCarthy, who nominated the artists for the honor, told Gothamist. “It took a long time and lots of hard work to advance the Christopher Wallace Way & Wu-Tang Clan District street co-naming, but ya know what, Hip Hop Don’t Stop.”
Founding Wu-Tang Clan members RZA and GZA have become outspoken voices for the vegan diet and animal rights.
In a recent video, GZA called traditional Southern food the “slave man’s diet,” and encouraged his fellow African Americans to adopt a plant-based diet.
RZA has lent his support to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) as a spokesperson for accepting differences — be that between humans or across species. In January, the artist launched a vegan 36-piece Wu-Tang inspired clothing line, and most recently, the group collaborated with Milk Makeup for a vegan lipstick range designed by RZA’s wife, Talani Rabb.
This year, the group has been celebrating its 25th anniversary of the release of “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”, the band’s critically-acclaimed first record. Over the summer, in anticipation of the band’s celebratory appearance at a festival in Detroit, a local pizzeria created a Wu-Tang inspired vegan pizza, dubbed “Cashews Rule Everything Around Me” — a riff on the classic track, “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me).”
GZA and fellow Wu-Tang Clan member the Ghostface Killah also recently lent their voices to the fast food chain White Castle, which launched sliders made with the vegan Impossible Burgers earlier this year. Fans could call a hotline and listen to pre-recorded messages from the rappers about the burger and life in general, according to the Wu.
Earlier this year Staten Island declared November 9th as “Wu-Tang Clan Day,” celebrating the group’s lasting impact on music, culture, and the often overlooked borough across the harbor.
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