When: Sat., Jan. 19, 3 p.m. 2013
In his engaging documentary Soul Food Junkies, filmmaker Byron Hurt explores the roots of soul food in slave culture, its role in the rituals of the community and its significant health consequences, interspersing his own narration with interviews with people on all sides of the issue. (The most memorable quote comes from comedian and activist Dick Gregory: “I don’t eat anything that fart, doo-doo, pee or screw.”) A few segments are particularly fascinating, among them an investigation of the Nation of Islam’s role in getting black Americans (even those who didn’t agree with the organization’s political and religious views) to reconsider their dietary habits, and a look at food deserts — poor black neighborhoods where healthy food is virtually nonexistent. The most poignant scenes feature Hurt recalling his father’s overindulgence in soul food, and his death from pancreatic cancer. (The film cites statistics indicating that the incidence of pancreatic cancer among African-Americans is 50 to 90 percent greater than for any other racial group.) The post-screening discussion should be terrific — panelists include Alice Randall, whose book Ada’s Rules addresses the dietary habits and self-image of African-American women; certified health and nutrition coach Dawn Freeman; and Carol Batey, owner of Good Vibrations Cooking. Admission is free.