Filmmaker Byron Hurt explores the health advantages and disadvantages of Soul Food, a quintessential American cuisine, in his documentary Soul Food Junkies.

Byron Hurt uses his own family’s story as a through-line, centering on his father’s unflagging devotion to the artery-clogging classic dishes in the soul food repertoire. Hurt recalls that growing up he wanted to be just like his “Pops” and copied his Sunday breakfast ritual of grits and eggs, smothered with cheese, salt pork and bacon. After college, Hurt, (as well as his sister and mother) altered their diets. But, his father continued to gain weight, refusing to change his eating habits, even in the face of the pancreatic cancer that ultimately took his life at an early age.

Byron’s personal story is flanked throughout the film by commentary from a range of historians, scholars, soul food chefs, doctors, and everyday folk who illuminate the cultural complexities in the Black Diaspora relationship to food. “Soul food is a repository for our history.”

Check out the trailer below.

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