While showing some of the downsides to a traditional soul food diet, Hurt puts forth solutions as well. The film elevates beyond some of the accusatory statements out there demonizing soul food, and shows that it comes from the vantage point of genuine concern. Ideas were shared from the growing food justice movement, such as community based farms to contend with the real issue of food deserts in underserved urban areas. The concept of food justice is a relatively new one. One of its tenets is the idea that poor and working class people should have the same access to fresh food and vegetables, and open markets that more well off people do.
These solutions require collaborative effort and individual willpower. Changing your personal diet is no small feat, and it will not happen overnight. But, it is possible in little steps. Even if it means beginning with little things such as substituting water for soda, or baking chicken instead of frying it. We do not have to necessarily give up soul food, but it is advisable to add healthy elements to it. Hurt’s film is a call for the African-American community to think critically about our eating habits and find healthier alternatives. It approaches the question of diet in an endearing and humorous way, thankfully avoiding a preachy tone. In sharing the story of his father, Byron Hurt has educated us all about steps we can take to keep ourselves healthy.
Soul Food Junkies premieres in New York City Thursday, August 30th. Although tonight’s premiere is sold out, attendees of next month’s Urban World Film festival will be able to view it. The film airs nationwide on PBS in January of 2013.
-Marc W. Polite