This Witty Short Film Explores Gentrification And Black British Identity
Ackee & Salftfish follows a Sunday afternoon quest for brunch that turns into much more.
When a trailer for British director Cecile Emeke's short film Ackee & Saltfish first dropped last year, it was the dry, hilarious banter between its two stars that drove the buzz. Watch it above. In it, best friends Olivia and Rachel argue over whether couscous qualifies as a type of rice, thirst over Common's beard, and, echoing the dream of carefree black girls everywhere, wish to be adopted by Solange. "Well, think about it: Solange as a mother would be the most amazing thing in the world. Like, Julez is livin'. I'm trying to live with Julez," deadpans Olivia.
But the film, which finally dropped this weekend, turns out to be a deeper meditation on friendship, gentrification, social responsibility, and cultural appropriation. Over its 17 minutes, we watch Olivia and Rachel embark on a quest for a meal of ackee and saltfish in Dalston, the East London neighborhood whose transformation often earns it comparisons to Williamsburg and Bushwick. In addition to raising questions about the implications of gentrification, Ackee & Saltfish addresses another issue Emeke has described as central to her work a European filmmaker: "I want to dispel the myth that black people only exist in America, the Caribbean, and Africa," she wrote in a blog post for Afropunk. A web series version of Ackee & Saltfish is expected to drop later this month, but, for now, you can stream the short film for £3 (around $4).