Soul Food is a classic film. The 1997 movie stars Vanessa Williams, Nia Long, and Vivica Fox as sisters living in Chicago and dealing with their family’s trials and tribulations. The ensemble cast was brought together by George Tillman Jr., the man behind the Barbershop franchise, Roll Bounce, and The Soul Food television series. Tillman Jr. recently revealed plans to do a sequel film starring much of the movie’s original cast. Some fans, however, feel that we cannot move on with a proper follow-up without addressing the major disservice done to Vanessa William’s character Aunt Teri in the first film.
The film centers around the Joseph family, a tight-knit Chicago clan who get together every Sunday for Sunday Dinners. Big Momma (played by Irma Dolores Player Hall) has three daughters. Vanessa Williams plays Teri, Vivica A. Fox plays Maxine, and Nia Long plays Bird. The daughters have complicated pasts and are incredibly competitive, all vying for their mother’s approval and attention. The film is told through the eyes of 11-year-old Ahmad and follows the family as they deal with everything from death to infidelity, new businesses, and growing families.
Vanessa Williams’ Teri got a bad rep back when the film first came out. The stern, oldest, and most successful sibling, Teri seemed like a complicated individual. She was not very supportive of her husband’s decision to quit his job and pursue music. Teri was also hard on her sisters, particularly Vivica Fox’s Maxine, who married Teri’s ex-boyfriend from their teens.
In the film, Teri ends up letting cousin Faith stay with her and her husband while visiting town. Faith sleeps with Teri’s husband, prompting Teri to attack her mid-film. In addition to this, Teri also took care of much of the family financially, even helping her younger sister open up a beauty shop. With the announcement of Tillman Jr. looking to revisit the Joseph family, one fan took to Facebook to demand justice for Teri. Vanessa Williams reposted the rant to her followers, making it obvious she feels her character got a bad rep too.
“I would like to start a petition to cancel the movie soul food until the creators of the film release a full statement APOLOGIZING to aunt Terri for making her a villain when she really was the victim!!” said Terrance PettyWap McGee Jr on Facebook. “Imagine being the only one in your family with a successful career, who actually MAKES money, you carry the whole family on your back, you pay your mother’s bills and they still call you the BAD GUY!” he continues.
He then lists various infractions in the film that painted Teri in a bad light, most specifically the scene between Faith and Teri’s husband and how it played out.
“Then when cousin Faith comes in town NOBODY wants to house her, so what do you do ? You let her come stay with you and how does she repay you ? By sleeping with your husband and OH, let’s not forget when she shows up for family dinner your sisters tell YOU to calm down and let’s her stay!!! Baby with sisters like those who tf needs enemies!” He concluded his rant with #JusticeForAuntTerri. With Vanessa Williams on his side, Terrance might actually get his wish since the actress will be able to influence how this next film is written.