If there are two things many people are craving more than ever these days, it's comfort food and a kind word. Thankfully, one of TikTok's most beloved users has cornered that market, with her food tutorials and affirmations spreading a lot of joy these days.
Tabitha Brown, an aspiring actress from Los Angeles, has gained over three million followers on the video platform where she shares snappy vegan food recipes from pancakes and French toast to creamy mushroom pasta and coconut ceviche – all delivered in a soothing, musical Southern accent.
In short voiceovers and videos, she walks viewers through some of her favourite recipes, including spaghetti bolognese with "pecan meat", not bothering with measurements but letting viewers try their hand at her recipes themselves.
Already her catchphrases "like so, like that" and "because that's your business" have taken off as shorthand for no-fuss, you-do-you cooking, while her Afro – nicknamed "Donna" by Brown – has taken on a life of its own.
Her videos, which often feature her daughter, Choyce, her son, Quest, and her husband, Chance, are calming glimpses into how another family are waiting out the lockdown.
Her following surged amid the outbreak of Covid-19, with viewers drawn to her words of encouragement and kindness as much as to her food. Spoken directly to the camera, often leaning on her countertop or lying stretched out on the couch, Brown's gentle enouragement come as though from a long-time friend.
"If you wanna sleep in, sleep in! Your body probably needs the rest anyway", she says in a video from April, dressed in a robe and encouraging viewers to "take this time to relax".
In another, she says "everyone ain't going to like you, everyone ain't going to agree with what you do, somebody's going to always have something to say. So what? What other folks say about you ain't none of your business."
Her affirmations are particularly interesting given the majority of TikTok users – and especially the major influencers – are aged in their teens and twenties. And one thing's for sure, it beats the scores of influencers racing to hit those angles for the 'gram in the one well-lit corner of their apartment.
Go for the vegan fish cakes, stay for the sweet words.