The Louisiana native says his family always has three things on their holiday plates.
Thanksgiving is here, which means we are in the thick of the holiday season that brings us together with family and friends around the dinner table. Food plays an important role in the Black community because it not only carries our culture, but also our history and identity. Our dishes tell our stories, and it’s part of the connective tissue that binds us.
Traditionally, it has been at the helm of the formation of Black identity in America. During the era of enslavement, food was used to maintain the link between Africa and our ancestral homes. After emancipation, it became a way to demonstrate solidarity with the ancestors and preserve their memory and sacrifices.
Today, it is used as a display of Black existence in this country and is also one of the many ways we’ve shaped the global food landscape and style of eating. Sinqua Walls of Power and the upcoming Amazon Prime film Nanny, can relate to all of this very well. EBONY recently spoke with the Louisiana native to get a glimpse of what’s typically on his holiday plate and the role that food has played in his life, on and off the screen.
EBONY: What are some favorite personal dishes you can’t live without during the holidays?
Sinqua Walls: My family and I love mac & cheese, greens and sweet potato pie during the holidays.
Why do you think food plays such an important role in African-American communities?
Food is a universal love language in the Black community, and it runs deep. It comes from the desire to nourish others, spend time together, keep traditions alive and ensure that everyone is fed. Food is not only a form of love, but it is also a means of preserving and building culture. Our parents ensure that their children and grandchildren learn the different names of ingredients, traditional preparation methods, and the necessary skills to transform them into their favorite dishes, and food becomes a source of memory.
How do you relate to it?
Food brings us together as a means of staying connected, learning about a family member through cooking together, celebrating, understanding our cultures and providing comfort. We love food almost as much as we love each other, so when we get together, it brings happiness and joy to everyone. Food, to me, also encourages interpersonal relationships. Sharing food with strangers creates new bonds, and it provides an invitation to get to know people better.
In what ways did food play a role with your character in Nanny; and in your opinion, how does this reflect the power of food in real life?
Elders make certain that we understand the preparation and work involved in cooking. In Nanny, my grandmother ensures that we all receive the information we require so that as we grow older, we can fulfill our responsibilities.