Psyche A. Williams-Forson Wins 2023 James Beard Award

UNC Press offers our sincere congratulations to Psyche A. Williams-Forson on being awarded the 2023 James Beard Foundation Book Award in Food Issues & Advocacy for Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America! 

Award Banner with Headshot of Psyche A. Williams-Forson

Each year, the James Beard Awards, a program of the James Beard Foundation, recognizes exceptional talent and achievement in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and broader food system, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive. This year, Psyche A. Williams-Forson was presented with the award in Food Issues & Advocacy, an award dedicated to celebrating books that include investigative journalism, food policy, deep dives, and critical analysis of the changing social landscape.  

Psyche A. Williams-Forson is professor and chair of the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Beyond Eating While Black, she is the author of Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World (2011) and the award-winning Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power (2006).  

Eating While Black book cover

Praise for Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America 

“Unpacking the ugly history of racist stereotypes, exclusionary agricultural policies, and the cultural assumption that Black people’s lives need monitoring, this is a book that celebrates the diversity of Black American food culture across the United States. . . . Eating While Black is a thoughtful text with insights into how much unwelcome extra tension and “heaviness” lands on Black Americans’ plates.”—Foreword Reviews 

“From cooking lessons that urge ‘healthier’ ways to prepare a pot of collard greens to policies that suggest Black people have the worst health records because of what they eat, in her latest examination of food and culture, Williams-Forson says such food shaming is anti-Black racism. Denigrating Blacks for enjoying foods that represent their cultural and spiritual roots deprives Black Americans their identity. Combining personal experience with insights from popular culture, Williams-Forson describes how even in their consumption of food, Black people are often perceived as transgressing, misbehaving, and in need of ‘gastronomic’ surveillance.”—Civil Eats 

“Everybody eats, so what’s political about eating? After reading Eating While Black, the answer is clear: everything.”—LIBER: A Feminist Review