Ackee & Saltfish

Last evening while I was trolling the internet, I came across a friend’s post on Facebook about a short film from a British writer by the name of Cecile Emeke. The first thing that caught my attention were the images of two beautiful dark-skin women who are the film’s stars. They looked like me!! We know that it continues to be a struggle to see multiple representations of people on film and television, so you must understand why I became so excited.  A young black woman wrote a film about other young black women and their thoughts about the neighbourhood which they live in? Yes! Linisa George is here for that. Every story is relevant, and every opinion is free to be shared. I present to you ‘Ackee & Saltfish’ which was described by one film festival as, “……a lighthearted short on the intersection of gentrification, class & race.”

“Ackee & Saltfish” is  a short film, directed and written by Cecile Emeke, starring Michelle Tiwo and Vanessa Babirye. The film was inspired by the everyday experiences and conversations had during a time when the whole of London was quickly being gentrified.  The film explores the theme of gentrification through the gaze of two, young, black women who were born and raised in London.

 THE STORY – “Cous-cous is not rice…”

On a sunny Sunday afternoon Olivia and Rachel carry out their usual routine…absolute relaxation, however when the time comes to whip up some brunch it turns out Rachel forgot to soak the saltfish overnight. With an empty fridge, a lazy sunday afternoon state of mind and hearts set on ackee & saltfish, the two friends decide to drive down the road to Dalston to get some Caribbean takeaway. Their mission for some nourishment turns sour as the social ills present in their native Dalston divides their opinions and tensions begin to rise. Their situation escalates and somehow things turn from empty-bellied banter about Solange Knowles, and cous-cous, to heated conversations about society and the state of the world.

The 17 minute short film is available for download at a cost of USD$4.53 here. I watched it this morning and thoroughly enjoyed how the plot played out. I felt like I was the fly on the wall of one of the many conversations that I’ve had with my girlfriends where things started off funny and upbeat but at some point became serious, reflective and some times chaotic because differing opinions have clashed. Kudos to Cecile and her team, and a big round of applause goes out to  Michelle and Vanessa for being such great naturals on screen; I want to hang with you ladies. And as if the film debut wasn’t already great, the webseries (by the same name) will premiere on Sunday 22nd February. Check out the trailer below. I will definitely be tuning in, and I hope you will too.

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