Welcome to the world of Soul Food. This Showtime series is based on the 1997 hit film of the same name starring Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long. The Showtime series stars Nicole Ari Parker, Vanessa Williams and Malinda Williams. Clicking on the above link will lead you to the Showtime series website with information about the show and the cast.
Here's a pic of the original Soul Food movie cast. And check out this site to read more information about the movie Soul Food.
And here's the Showtime series cast.
Check out Boris Kodjoe's official website
Boris Kodjoe Online
The following article appeared in the July 8, 2002 issue of Newsweek
SOUL FOOD UPDATE FOR 2/17/2004
SHOWTIME's Hit Series 'Soul Food' Premieres Fifth and Final Season Wednesday, February 25, 2004
NEW YORK, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- SOUL FOOD, entering its fifth and final season on Wednesday, February 25 at 10:00 PM (ET/PT), has been a hit with critics and fans alike. Honored with numerous awards, the show also has the distinction of being the longest-running African-American drama on television and one of Showtime's most popular series. This year, for the second time in a row, SOUL FOOD was named "Outstanding Drama Series" at the 2003 NAACP Image Awards, and cast member Vanessa Williams was named "Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series."
Returning members of the award-winning cast include Nicole Ari Parker ("Remember the Titans," "Boogie Nights," "Brown Sugar"), Malinda Williams ("The Wood"), Vanessa Williams ("Melrose Place," "New Jack City"), Rockmond Dunbar ("Earth 2," "The Practice"), Darrin DeWitt Henson ("Longshot") and Aaron Meeks (SHOWTIME'S A STORM IN SUMMER). Boris Kodjoe, a series regular for three years, will be making two guest appearances in the role of Damon, love interest to Nicole Ari Parker's character Teri.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown ("The Dirty Dozen") will appear in a multi-episode arc in season five as an FBI agent who pressures ex-con Lem (Darrin DeWitt Henson) to spy on his business partner. Also making guest appearances will be Hill Harper ("The Handler," "City of Angels") as Kenny's (Dunbar) brother Kelvin Chadway, Vondie Curtis Hall ("Chicago Hope") as a new love interest for Teri, Diahann Carroll reprising her role as 'Aunt Ruthie,' and Mario Van Peebles.
A dramatic series based on the 1997 hit film of the same name, SOUL FOOD premiered on Showtime in June 2000. SOUL FOOD is a Waterwalk Production, Edmonds Entertainment and State Street Pictures production in association with Paramount Network Television. Season five of SOUL FOOD is executive produced by Tracey Edmonds, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, George Tillman, Jr., Robert Teitel, Kathleen-McGhee Anderson and Salim Akil.
Season five begins with Ahmad (AARON MEEKS) under arrest for robbery. When he explains to the police that he was just trying to help an old woman and that he didn't rob her, the police hold him in a jail cell for the day. Scared, humiliated and tired, Ahmad wants to put this thing behind him, but it will not go away. The reaction of his so-called friends, the treatment by law enforcement and the assumption of guilt based on his skin color makes Ahmad doubt that doing the right thing is really the thing to do. Encouraged by his father, Kenny (ROCKMOND DUNBAR), but disillusioned by his experience, a new, more opinionated Ahmad begins to emerge. His perspective on the world changes.
Lem (DARRIN DeWITT HENSON) is caught between a rock and a hard place, when FBI agent Willie White (JIM BROWN) asks him to turn on his mentor Baron Marks (MICHAEL WARREN). Willie makes it clear that he has one mission - to take down the notorious Baron Marks. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between the FBI and the father he never had, Lem's decision is made all the more difficult when Willie reveals that he has evidence of Lem's involvement with the Blaylock murder. If Lem doesn't agree to inform on his mentor, it could easily mean Lem spending time behind bars. When Bird (MALINDA WILLIAMS), finds an envelope full of money, issues of street life start to spill out at home. The weight from all sides leads Lem to juggle his troubles with Bird, Baron and Willie, while pondering the future of his family and his freedom.
Maxine (VANESSA WILLIAMS) and Bird find out Teri (NICOLE ARI PARKER) has slept with former client Eric Davis (LAZ ALONSO). While Maxine is taken aback by Teri's behavior, Bird is happy to see that her sister's gotten her groove back. Maxine and Teri get into an argument about her one-night stand, leaving Teri at odds with Maxine.
At work, her nemesis, Doug Parelli (C. DAVID JOHNSON), congratulates her on convincing Davis to stay with the firm and transferring even more of his business to them. Irritated, Teri thinks that Davis changed his mind purely because they had sex. When Parelli infers that she could lose her position at the firm for sleeping with a client, Teri insists that she didn't sleep with him. Teri later confronts Davis, but it is not the issue that is causing her deep pain.
SOULFOOD UPDATE FOR 3/15/2004
The following article appeared in the February 16, 2004 issue of Jet Magazine
SOULFOOD UPDATE FOR 5/24/2004
The following article appeared in the May 23, 2004 issue of TV Guide
SOULFOOD UPDATE FOR 6/16/2004
End of 'Soul Food' leaves empty plate
With show's finale, no black dramas on TV
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- The fifth and final season of television's longest-running black drama, Showtime's "Soul Food," is serving up its last episode, leaving behind an uncertain future for the genre.
Based on the 1997 hit film of the same name, the multigenerational saga of one Chicago family has been one of Showtime's most popular series, making stars out of Vanessa Williams (not the former Miss America), Nicole Ari Parker and others.
Fans held "Soul Food" viewing parties and the show's official Web site amassed over 10,000 hits daily. But after the finale airs Wednesday at 10 p.m. EDT, there will be no significant black dramas left on the air.
So why is "Soul Food" ending now?
Showtime decided it was best "to go out on top with high ratings and high-quality storytelling," said series executive producer Tracey Edmonds, although increasing production costs might have been a factor.
Yet Edmonds said the story line will be left "open-ended enough" so that another network could revive the series if it wanted to.
"This show speaks to its audience on a personal level, especially in the African-American culture. That's because we have African-Americans writing for these characters, African-Americans directing episodes, reflecting their true lives and lifestyles."
While it never came close to being as big a cable deal as something like "The Sopranos," the NAACP Image award-winning series marked a turning point, said Ron Simon, curator for the Museum of Television and Radio in New York.
"'Soul Food' represents the beginning steps of trying to answer the question: How do you deal with the new African-American reality on television?" he said. "It's not dealing with stereotypes and the way (white people) think things are. It just shows the great potential of African-American drama on television."
And for that, said Rochell Thomas, an associate editor at TV Guide, "Soul Food" deserves more credit from those who've dismissed it as a mere movie spin-off.
"The fact that it worked is what matters," said Thomas, adding, "in general, dramas are having a hard time right now if they aren't law or cop shows. It's just that no one is willing to give a black drama a chance."
She and others attribute this to an attitude among TV executives that black dramas don't sell well in national syndication and overseas -- markets where television shows typically make much of their profits.
Showtime President Robert Greenblatt, whose network is developing two new black dramas, said that argument is erroneous "until networks and studios have enough shows to really amass some real research on that."
"To not access those characters and that culture in a dramatic form is just stupid," he said.
Todd Boyd, professor of USC's School of Cinema and Television, questioned whether today's benchmark of black success on television should be drama.
"Looking at the broad spectrum of television, there's a different image you get, and in many cases black people have infiltrated spaces that are prominent and visible. It may not be dramas, but there is a certain visibility," Boyd said.
Finding an audience
But the reality of network television is that it is driven more by profits than social consciousness, so unless an "ethnic" show has crossover appeal to a wider audience, it will never achieve true hit status.
"Soul Food" did well enough for a pay-cable program, but it was never able to attract a significant white audience and therefore would not have been considered successful on a broadcast network.
"You have to appeal to blacks and whites in the audience," said TV historian Tim Brooks, "and the black audience isn't big enough if whites won't watch, too. Whites certainly will watch black shows if they don't feel excluded by it."
"That may be part of it," said director Paris Barclay, who was an executive producer on CBS' defunct black serial, "City of Angels." "But even if you have a show identified as a black show, just from the title, 'Soul Food,' white people don't want to sample it."
Dee LaDuke, author of "Making Great Television," agrees. She noted that white shows have become part of the "normal TV viewing experience" for black viewers, "but white people don't themselves make (black shows) a first choice. Convincing the broadcast networks that these lives are as rich and sexy, tragic and funny as any that have succeeded on television ... is the next step for the reflection of race on television."