Thanksgiving is just around the corner; and while it is indeed a holiday to spend quality time with family and to give thanks, for many people, it’s also a time to do some serious eating.
But for many African-Americans, that “serious eating” can lead to serious health concerns–and not only just during the holiday season, but also on a more regular, full-time basis. In Byron Hurt’s award-winning documentary Soul Food Junkies, the culinary tradition of African-Americans is examined, with an emphasis on the history of [cooking] soul food, as well as the socioeconomic conditions that are deemed contributing factors to a lifestyle of unhealthy eating.
When it came to making Soul Food Junkies, Hurt was inspired by his “father’s lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich, traditional soul food diet” and through a series of investigations, interviews with soul food cooks and sociologists, he learned that the relationship between African-Americans and soul food “is deep-rooted, complex and often fatal.” In addition, the documentary explores the “food desert” problem that is pervasive in black neighborhoods across the country, and the “pioneers in the emerging food justice movement” who are advocating for more healthy food options in the community.
See Soul Food Junkies at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., this Sunday, November 18, at 3pm. Hurt, along with community health activist Dara Cooper, University of Chicago’s Doriane Miller, MD and Sheelah Muhammad, will host a panel discussion after the screening. Admission is free and open to the public; for more information, call 773-702-8063.