Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt offers a fascinating exploration of the soul food tradition, its relevance to black cultural identity, and its continuing popularity despite the known dangers of high-fat, high-calorie diets.
Inspired by his father's lifelong love affair with soul food even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis, Hurt discovers that the relationship between African-Americans and dishes like ribs, grits, and fried chicken is deep-rooted and culturally based.
At the same time, he moves beyond matters of culture and individual taste to show how the economics of the food industry have combined with socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods to dramatically limit food choices. The result is an absorbing and ultimately inspiring look at the cultural politics of food and the complex interplay between identity, taste, power, and health. Features soul food cooks, historians, doctors, and food justice movement activists who are challenging the food industry, creating sustainable gardens, and advocating for better supermarkets, more farmers' markets, and healthier takes on soul food.
"Soul Food Junkies is so important -- an instant classic, even. Byron Hurt is calling for change, and that change starts at home, in the kitchen."
- New York Daily News
"It's a very smart film, alarming but not shaming, about how vexing it is to tell people to eat differently when they associate making great traditional foods with the closest social bonds they have."
"Mr. Hurt blends gravity with levity and ventures into the Deep South to explore the origins of old-fashioned, home-cooked soul food... In a country where the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than one-third of U.S. adults are overweight, Mr. Hurt tries to offer insight into what has gone wrong in the food supply-chain as well as what America needs to do in order reverse the descent into obesity."
- The Wall Street Journal
"Examines 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."
- New York Times
"A vastly entertaining, hilarious, passionate, revelatory and thoroughly researched documentary which examines Soul Food's significance in Black American culture... Easily one of the year's best."