Community Cinema presents "Soul Food Junkies"

Community Cinema presents "Soul Food Junkies"

Mon, 01/28/2013 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Soul food

Photo credit: Independent Television Service (ITVS)

WXXI is proud to host a new season of free screenings, featuring films from the Emmy Award-winning PBS series, Independent Lens. The screenings, held at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue, Rochester, NY), will be followed by lively panel discussions to encourage dialogue and action around important and timely social issues. These events are free, open to the public, and reservations are not required.

Please join us Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. for Soul Food Junkies. Soul food lies at the heart of African American cultural identity. Filmmaker Byron Hurt sets out on a historical and culinary journey to learn more about the soul food tradition and its relevance to black cultural identity. Hurt’s exploration was inspired by his father’s lifelong love affair with the high-fat, calorie-rich traditional soul food diet and his unwillingness to give it up even in the face of a life-threatening health crisis. Hurt discovers that the relationship between African Americans and culinary dishes like ribs, grits, and fried chicken is culturally based, deep-rooted, complex, and often deadly.

Through candid interviews with soul food cooks, historians, and scholars, as well as with doctors, family members, and everyday people, Soul Food Junkies puts this culinary tradition under the microscope to examine both its positive and negative consequences. Hurt also explores the socioeconomic conditions in predominantly black neighborhoods, where it can be difficult to find healthy options, and meets some pioneers in the emerging food justice movement who are challenging the food industry, encouraging communities to “go back to the land” by creating sustainable and eco-friendly gardens, advocating for healthier options in local supermarkets, supporting local farmers' markets, avoiding highly processed fast foods, and cooking healthier versions of traditional soul food.

This film is part of WXXI's African American Educational Awareness Film Series, now in its 5th year. The series is made possible with support from our sponsors: Pothos Productions, Freedom Trail Commission, WHTK-1280AM What’s Goin on with Brown & Allen, The Community Place of Greater Rochester and Threshold CAPP.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion with:

Thomas Banister: Thomas is a twenty-six year retiree of Xerox Corp. He is dedicated to volunteering in his community serving as a Manager at the Henrietta C.A.S.H program and works with medical teams at Strong Hospital as a standardized patient training new doctors. A native of Rochester he attended #4 Elementary School, West High School (currently Wilson Commencement High School), Thomas earned his A.S. at Monroe Community College; and took the B.S. at Excelsior University, and earned his M.S. from Roberts Wesleyan College. He holds a license from New York State for Life Insurance.

Wayne Lewis:  Wayne was born and raised in Rochester, NY. He moved to Brockport where he graduated and met his high school sweetheart and now wife Sandra.  He has two daughters Tasha Crumity and Tiffany Lewis and one adopted daughter Bridget Ashlock.  Son-in-law Rev Patrick Crumity, grandfather to Patrick(Sir Wayne) and Lyric-Brielle Crumity.  He has been a youth advisor for over 25 years starting with the Christian basketball league for 17 years.  He was the director of the Dr. Douglas Smith Learning Center.  He became an ordained Deacon 14 years ago.

Jesse Allen: Jesse W. Allen is a recent retiree after 31 years with the Xerox Corporation. He held executive and managerial positions in purchasing, finance, new product development, and supply chain management. He received his Bachelor's of Science degree from Northern Michigan University. Here he was initiated into the Zeta Delta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity on December 1967.

Besides being President of Eta Rho Lambda, Brother Allen has held other positions in the chapter, and chairs the initiative to identify and sponsor high school male students to the Fraternity’s Leadership Development Institute at St. John’s University.  Brother Allen is on the board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Rochester.  He has been a Big Brother and worked as a Bowl-for-Kids-sake fund raising Team Leader.   Brother Allen also serves on the American Red Cross Next Generation Advisory Board that oversees the ARC Leadership program series for County high school students.   He also volunteers as a counselor for “Achievers-in-Life” a youth mentorship program targeted at serving African American boys.

Brother Allen was raised in Inkster Michigan, and moved to Rochester, New York in 1979.  He is married to Erane Trenier Allen and they are the proud parents of son, Jesse (Jay)L. Allen who is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and daughter Jacqueline Michelle who holds degrees from Cornell and Emory Universities, and is currently a 4th  year medical student at Loyola University Chicago.


Community Cinema is presented by ITVS and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Watch the trailer here: