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Viola Davis-Produced Black Food History Docuseries ‘Hungry for Answers’ Ordered at Discovery+ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 4/21/2022 Jennifer Maas
© Davis: Michael Bucnker / PMC; Davis: AP

Discovery+ is set to launch a new docuseries focused on Black food history in America from producer Viola Davis, featuring scholar and cookbook author Caroline Randall Williams as host, Variety has learned exclusively.

The four-episode show, titled “Hungry for Answers,” will follow Williams as she travels the country, “uncovering the fascinating, essential, and often untold Black stories behind some of America’s classic and emblematic food and spirits,” per the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned streamer. “From the spicy, crisp flavors of Nashville Hot Chicken to the warm, dulcet taste of Tennessee Whiskey, Williams is out to uncover the origin stories of these quintessential American offerings, as well as surface the truth when it comes to the equity, or in most cases inequity, regarding the recognition and reward, and lack thereof, for the true founding contributors throughout history. ‘Hungry for Answers’ is a food show but it is not just a food show, it is a Black food show with an ambitious endeavor to serve up a healthy dose of history with each delicious bite and sip explored.”

“Hungry for Answers” will launch all four of its episodes June 8 on Discovery+. The series premiere will feature Williams trying to answer the question “Who gets to cook Black food?” Additional episodes will focus on the “less than sweet history of sugar,” the history of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and the history of Black farmers in America.

The series hails from B17 Entertainment, and Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions.

“‘Hungry for Answers’ is ground-breaking in its pursuit of difficult conversations surrounding origins of food,” said Courtney White, outgoing president of Food Network and streaming food content at Discovery Inc. “This exceptional Discovery+ series showcases Caroline Randall Williams’ bold and forthright mission to explore the complicated backstory of popular dishes.”

“Hungry for Answers” host Williams is the co-author of the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook “Soul Food Love.” Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People changing the South,” and ranked by The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2020, the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, Cherry Bombe, Garden & Gun, Essence and The New York Times. She is a writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University.

“All of the greatest moments of vulnerability, conversations and discourse about social, political, lifestyle issues have taken place in our kitchen,” Davis said in a statement to Variety. “The joy of food is like home. When many people are sharing together it is the most powerful tool for connection. I met Caroline Randall Williams on the set of ‘The Help’ in 2010 and knew she was special. Not only as a cook but as a journalist and critical thinker. She pitched Julius and I her idea of this revelatory cooking show. We are both thrilled to invite her into the JuVee family.”

Williams added: “‘Hungry for Answers’ is so many dreams of mine come true — a call and response opportunity to do some question asking, some truth telling, some good eating and fine drinking. I can’t wait to share this wild, spicy, complicated and delicious adventure with an audience!”

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