Dr. Yohuru Williams
Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas

In the News: Dr. Yohuru Williams Discusses Food, TV and Culture

When the Emmys online magazine interviewed Dr. Yohuru Williams, the founding director of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, it referenced how the historian is a “go-to expert on the History Channel series ‘The Food That Built America.’” The fifth season of the docuseries, which premiered Feb.  25, explores Campbell’s SpaghettiOs. 

For the “My 7 Shows” article, Williams discussed seven of his favorite classic TV shows, which he said he often watched while munching on junk food. “Food is such an important part of our cultural studies.”

Yohuru Williams on a Wheaties box
Yohuru Williams depicted on Wheaties

From the article:

Since 2019, Williams has weighed in on the backstory of the likes of Pepsi Cola, McDonald’s and Gummy Bears – usually while wearing a flower pin on his suit lapel.

“I love being involved with this series,” he says. “One of the neat things is that you wake up in the morning and eat your Wheaties and don’t think about how it was introduced, the advertising and the innovation that went into it. That’s all very exciting to me, because I can talk about what the United States looked like at that time.” Because of his extensive academic training, Williams – who’s also appeared on docuseries such as “The Unbelievable with Dan Aykroyd,” “The Toys That Built America” and “Colosseum” – specializes in providing historical context to the popular eats and treats.