Could a regular soul food diet be responsible for the high mortality rate among African Americans? Chicago Tribune believes filmmaker Byron Hurt says as much in his documentary, Soul Food Junkies. The film looks into how “black cultural identity is linked to high-calorie, high-fat food such as fried chicken and barbecued ribs and how eating habits may be changing.”
Hurt’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, prompting him to start documenting his dad’s health struggles. His research on the topic led him to “his family history, as well as slavery, the African diaspora and the black power movement.” He spoke with a variety of experts (i.e., food historians, doctors, and activists) and traveled to a number of states (including New Jersey, Georgia, and Illinois) to gather material for the documentary.
While the title of the film is catchy, Hurt recognizes that the term soul food can be problematic. In his interview with Chicago Tribune, he explains, “The history of Southern food is complex. In many ways, the term soul food is a reduction of our culinary foodways.” In addition, he points out that poverty and the prevalence of food deserts also contribute to unhealthy diets.
[via Chicago Tribune]