Exclusive: John Legend Presents 2022 Peabody Award to Netflix's High on the Hog

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Screenshot:  YouTube/Peabody Awards
Screenshot: YouTube/Peabody Awards

Recipients of the 2022 Peabody Awards are beginning to be revealed, and The Root is proud to exclusively announce one of this year’s winners in the documentary category: Netflix’s High on the Hog!

Presented by multi-Grammy award-winning artist John Legend, the popular series builds on the research of food historian Dr. Jessica B. Harris and charts the evolution of Black foodways with both clarity and awe. Taking viewers across the Atlantic from Benin to South Carolina and up the eastern coast of the United States, High on the Hog serves as a corrective to histories that have excluded Black people’s contributions from this country’s culinary records.

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“Food brings people together. But there’s no denying that the story of Black cuisines in the United States is one of the connections forged against unfathomable odds. Such was the origin story for the Netflix series, High on the Hog: How African-American Cuisine Transformed America,” Legend explained in part, later adding:But what this journey is about really, is a profound meditation on the pains enslaved people took to maintain ties to Africa or the way those ties exist today in food, in dishes, and in cooking traditions. It’s an astonishing piece of revisionist history—and we needed it. For its cinematic, multi-dimensional chronicling of Black culinary history, High on the Hog wins a Peabody Award.”

“We are so honored to have been awarded the Peabody Award which shines a light on stories that matter,” said director and executive producer Roger Ross Williams. “Being nominated would’ve been an honor enough but this one mattered so much to me. I grew up Gullah and the smells coming out of my mother’s kitchen meant safety. It meant security. It was surprising when I went to Benin, West Africa and those same smells were there in the marketplace. It felt like I was coming home. In making the series, we wanted to really create a balance between the hardship and sorrow of these untold stories but also the courage and the artistry and the resourcefulness of African-Americans.”

He concluded: “These stories illuminate how we helped define the American kitchen and American cuisine. I want to thank Netflix, which greenlight this project not once but twice, we have a second season coming y’all; Dr. Jessica B. Harris, whose brilliant book the series is based on; Fabienne Toback and Karis Jagger, who [both]read the book and knew it would be a documentary; my business partner Geoff Martz; Stephen Satterfield, whose quiet intelligence fueled every frame of this documentary; Shoshona Guy, our brilliant showrunner and our entire team. Thank you so much.”

Congratulations to High on the Hog! Winners for the 82nd Annual Peabody Awards will continue to be presented on social media beginning today through Thursday, June 9.