Starving for justice: reading the relationship between food and criminal justice through creative works of the Black community
Much attention has been given to food justice in both academic and activist communities as of late. This project adds to the growing discourse around food justice by using creative works produced by members of the black community as case studies to analyze the relationship between food justice and the criminal justice system in their neighborhoods. In particular, this project examines two unique sources of creative expression from the black community. The first is the novel Been ‘Bout Dat, the story of a young boy Fattz, who is born into the projects of New Orleans and takes to street life in order to provide for his siblings and struggling single mother. Written in prison by Johnny Davis it offers a valuable perspective that is combined with historical context and statistical support to construct an understanding of how concepts of food and criminal justice influence each other. The second source is the lyrical content of several hip-hop songs from rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, Nas, and Young Jeezy. Comparing the content of these works and the lived realities expressed in both brings new and useful insights about food justice and criminal justice as experienced in poor minority communities. Recognizing this relationship may illuminate solutions to food justice issues through criminal justice reform as well as inform fresh efforts at community renewal.