Hollywood put up plenty of obstacles. 'Soul Food' still became a Black TV pioneer

Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Although the concept of a "Soul Food" series seemed promising, one drawback was that most of the original cast would not be available. But the strength of the "Soul Food" title proved strong enough that the show succeeded with a mostly unknown cast. Perhaps the biggest name in the cast was Vanessa A. Williams, who had appeared in the first season of "Melrose Place" and in the film "New Jack City."

"We were a Black drama and we had a lot to prove," said series cast member Rockmond Dunbar. "'Soul Food' showed aspects of Black love and Black romance that hadn't really been seen before."

Henderson and the cast are also celebrating the "Soul Food" anniversary by hosting a fundraiser Tuesday for Sybrina Fulton, who is running for Miami-Dade County commissioner, District 1. Fulton is the mother of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teen who was fatally shot in 2012 (neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder in the case in 2013).

Even though the film is more than 20 years old and the series has been off the air for 15 years, Tillman said the "Soul Food" franchise still has resonance.

"I never imagined the series would last as long as it did," he said. "'Soul Food' is a brand, it has tradition and pride. It's truly been a blessing."


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