In partnership with the South Dallas Cultural Center, the Meadows School is co-sponsoring the screening of “Soul Food Junkies,” an award-winning film by filmmaker Byron Hurt at 7:00 p.m., Sat. Sept. 21 at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave.
Inspired by his own family’s complex relationship with “soul food” (fried chicken, ribs, macaroni and cheese, peach cobbler, and the whole panoply of 'down-home' foods made with grease, sugar and love), Hurt asks whether this diet is nurturing or destroying the African American community.
Food habits and traditions are hard to change, especially when they’re passed on from generation to generation and rich with family history and loving memories. Leaving behind the food you grew up with can seem like a rejection of family values and roots.
The film shares Hurt’s journey from his New Jersey home through the South to learn more about African American soul food and its long-term effects on the community.
Hurt’s journey was inspired by his father’s unwillingness to give up his high-fat, calorie-laden traditional soul food diet, even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. Although he’s been able to improve his diet and stay in shape, Hurt discovers that the love affair that his Dad and others have with soul food is deep-rooted, complex and often deadly.
Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as doctors, family members, and everyday people, “Soul Food Junkies” reveals how the American culinary tradition of “southern” food began in West Africa, spread throughout the Americas during slavery, and was coined “soul food” in the late 1960s during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.
The film also shows how the profit-driven fast food and processed-food industry, have replaced traditional home cooked meals more and more. This, along with the dwindling number of markets featuring fresh produce in many communities of color, has negatively impacted African American health.
Change is coming and faced with increasing obesity and rising diabetes rates, an emerging food justice movement is taking root: dynamic and passionate individuals are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmer’s markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking a healthier version of traditional soul food.
A panel discussion will follow the screening, moderated by Dr. Beverly Ann Davenport, medical anthropologist and University of North Texas faculty member.
The screening and panel discussion will be at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. at R. B. Cullum Blvd. For more information, visit http://www.dallasculture.org/sdculturalcenter/
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