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Through the Eyes of Art: Welcome to the Cookout! A Conversation About Food, Identity, and Pop Culture

Through the Eyes of Art - A Black History Month Celebration - The Cookout

Black food writer and culinary historian Michael W. Twitty wrote, “The Old South is a place where people use food to tell themselves who they are, to tell others who they are, and to tell stories about where they've been.” This is a poignant and powerful point; one that asserts the simple and inarguable fact that food is a form of a cultural expression and identity.

From the creation of mouthwatering dishes to how recipes have been passed down through generations, food captures stories of heritage and lineage. In the ingredients chosen and the creative substitutes people use to make up for what they cannot access, food brings to light stories of race, power and (in)justice.

In "Formation," Beyoncé sings "I keep hot sauce in my bag, swag," a cultural reference to her southern roots.

During the month of February, the Museum of Pop Culture and The Chosen Few will once again partner in co-producing a virtual edition of our annual Through the Eyes of Art event, a Black History Month celebration that brings together artists, community leaders, politicians, and tastemakers from across the state of Washington to celebrate the Black experience.

This year’s theme is The Cookout, and through it, we will gather in celebration as we immerse ourselves in programming that explores amazing Soul Food cuisine and spotlights Seattle’s Black-owned food establishments, and commune in reflection as we engage in conversations and activities that dive deeper into issues related to health and wellness, food justice, and access.

Using "Soul Food" both literally and figuratively, Big K.R.I.T reflects on his (lost) youth, his grandmother's cooking, and the loss of closeness and family.

To join us at The Cookout, check out our calendar of events and activities at Our programming will include a month-long Healthy Eating Challenge, a cookalong with celebrity chef Danielle Alex, a panel discussion on food justice & Seattle’s food movements, and much, much more.

RSVP where applicable and make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to catch all of our activities. We look forward to "seeing" you there, and in the meantime, enjoy our ‘Welcome to the Cookout’ playlist embedded below. Groove to it while you cook, workout, or just relax and think about your family’s favorite dish.

Learn more about MoPOP's Black History Month celebration, Through the Eyes of Art: The Cookout + for contests, the latest news, and behind-the-scenes content, be sure to follow us on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

If you like what you see, support our work by planning a visit or making a donation to MoPOP today!

Pop Culture, Through the Eyes of Art

About the author

Kwapi Vengesayi is the Manager of Community Engagement at MoPOP, and a fan and student of all things Motown, Afrofuturism, and Star Trek.