Robbyne Kaamil Fought to Free Animals From the Chains of Human Supremacy

Published by Zachary Toliver.

Comedian, actor, advice columnist, passionate animal defender, and PETA friend Robbyne Kaamil has passed away. We’ll remember her for her fiery personality and unshakable voice, and we’re forever grateful that she used her soulful talent to liberate animals.

PETA collaborated with Robbyne in a powerful public service announcement about the modern-day slave trade. Written and directed by Robbyne, her thought-provoking message compared the animals used in circuses with the slaves who were forced to work and endure cruelty their entire lives. Her words captivated dedicated activists and other folks alike and went on to win a prestigious Telly Award.

Robbyne—whose great-great-grandmother was a slave—reminded the world that for animals who are held captive in circuses, roadside zoos, and marine parks, the slave trade is very much alive today.

“When you buy a ticket to SeaWorld, Ringling Bros. circus, your local zoo or aquarium, you are an active participant in this modern-day slave trade,” she said.

She Passionately Practiced What She Preached

Robbyne became an activist shortly after learning the story of Lolita—an orca imprisoned inside the Miami Seaquarium—and she couldn’t help but draw parallels between the African slaves whose families were torn apart and the orcas taken from the wild. She saw her own family’s story in Lolita’s and was inspired to take action. With rhapsodic spoken-word poetry reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron, she created a protest anthem demanding that Lolita be set free.

Robbyne grew from her activism experience. After revealing the plight of animals used for entertainment, she made the connection that all animals suffered under human supremacy. She went vegan and blossomed as a beacon for animal liberation. When discussing her transformation, she described her thought process: “‘Now girl, you can’t sit up here and call [Lolita’s] captors slave owners and talk about all of this, and you still have a dead animal on your plate.’ So I had to take a look in the mirror.”

Up until the very end, Robbyne was an advocate for animals. A month before she passed away, she gave a moving eulogy at New York City’s National Animal Rights Day event for animals killed senselessly by humans.

PETA is giving Robbyne a leaf on our “Tree of Life” memorial—a monument honoring those whose actions have made a positive difference for animals—engraved with the words “Robbyne Kaamil, Actor and Animal Defender.”

Honor Her Legacy: Take Action for Captive Animals Now

Honor Robbyne’s dedication to the animal rights movement: Demand that venues require the infamous UniverSoul Circus to perform without cruel animal acts, and urge the Miami Seaquarium and Marineland Antibes to send Lolita and the other orcas imprisoned at those parks to seaside sanctuaries. Click the buttons below and make your voice heard.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind