The screening of documentary “Soul Food For Junkies” brought a lot of attention the the Rogue River Room in the SU this past Tuesday. Byron Hurst, director of the film, hosted the event. The award winning documentary film maker was pleased to see the SOU’s basketball team and many diverse students be enthused for the showing.
As the documentary began it covered the story of Hurst father who passed away of pancreatic cancer. Hurst’s goal of the film was to find out why African Americans seemed so attached to “Soul Food.” This became a passion to Hurst as he watched his own father consume this type of food even when his health, and life was in jeopardy.
The documentary went as far back as slavery where the term “soul food” came about and was more known as “Survival food.” Enslaved African Americans would eat these foods in order to survive but it was not until years later that these foods took an unhealthy turn. Now most soul food is sauteed in grease, butter, and fat and most often deep fried. Typical soul food consists of fried chicken, pork, yams, greens, macaroni and cheese, and makes use of almost all parts of an animal. If prepared differently Hurst found that many African Americans can still enjoy their soul food while being health conscious.
Hurst found that soul food seems to have an emotional connection with most African Americans as it represents more than food, but survival, history, family, love and coming together. The documentary brought attention to a shocking issue called “Food deserts. “ Many had never heard of this but even Michelle Obama was featured in the documentary talking about the extreme issue of these deserts. A food desert is an area that has little to no access to food such as grocery stores, or healthy food options. Hurst showed that many low income and highly African American populated areas are food deserts and this increases the likelihood of eating fast food or choosing cheap, unhealthy options.
This film not only looked at African Americans famous soul food but also paid attention to the large quantity of fast food that has become a normal part of american culture. Hurst documentary was an eye opening, laughter reviving reminder that obesity and death related diseases are a large problem in the U.S. not just among the African American culture but nation-wide.