This is installment #22 of Shadow And Act's #ShortFilmShoutout series.
Gentrification is a major issue in New York City. New names for long-established neighborhoods materialize just as often as a new Whole Foods. Feeling the brunt of this are Black and brown New Yorkers who feel the threat of displacement due to rising prices in rent.
In Bushbaby, writer, actor and director Tarik Jackson perfectly encapsulates the feeling of seeing your neighborhood change before your eyes.
In the short film, Jackson plays the role of Simba, a young journalist tasked with writing a piece about the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Tasked with getting residents' perspectives on what it's like to survive in a neighborhood that's constantly changing, Simba films a series of comedic interactions with old friends and new residents about life in gentrified Brooklyn.
Produced by Jacquin DeLeon, what makes Bushbaby standout is its directorial style. The acting and interviews feel so real, you almost forget you're watching a short film. In many ways, Bushbaby feels like a real-life documentary on gentrified Brooklyn filtered through the lens of longtime residents. At one point in the film, Simba interviews a biker who jokingly refers to Bed-Stuy as South Williamsburg. Apart from social issues, Bushbaby also doubles as a slice of life story by showcasing Simba in a relationship with a stripper who is simply trying to make a living.
Watch the film below:
Photo: Tarik Johnson
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