Documentary looks at the past, future of soul food
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois Public Media's next Community Cinema screening, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, will be of the documentary "Soul Food Junkies."
After the free screening at the Champaign Public Library, there will be a discussion of the issues raised by the movie. The panelists include Doug Williams of Faith in Action, Gayle and Ronick Frazier of Flava Catering and Imani Bazzell of SisterNet.
Soul food is a quintessential American cuisine, with a rich history and an abiding significance to black cultural identity.
But with its core celebration of all things fried and smothered, it has had lasting effects on African-Americans' health, both for better and for worse.
In "Soul Food Junkies," filmmaker Byron Hurt looks at the past and future of soul food — from its roots in Western Africa, to its incarnation in the American South, to its contribution to modern health crises in communities of color.
Hurt, who spoke in Champaign-Urbana in 2007 at WILL's screening of his film "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes," sets out to learn more about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. He interviews soul food cooks, historians and scholars, as well as doctors, family members and everyday people.
His exploration was inspired by his father's lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich traditional soul food diet and his unwillingness to give it up even in the face of a life-threatening illness.
"Soul Food Junkies" will air on WILL-TV's "Independent Lens" at 9 p.m. Monday.