September 17, 2020, Netflix will be releasing the film “Residue” written and directed by Merawi Gerima. The film is poetic storytelling of Merawi’s hometown of Washington D.C. In Merawi’s own words: “it is an archive of their existence which stands in defiance of their attempted erasure by gentrification.”
The film is about Merawi’s own life and stays true to his own life story. Merawi cast his friends, family, and community as actors and focused on his neighborhood of Q street. He was able to pull from his community and provide commentary on the realities of Black people across the nation. The actors being cast from the community allowed for the emotional connection and attachment to the area to be felt throughout the film. The raw emotion captured on-screen feels overwhelmingly real because for this cast it is.
While watching the film viewers will be able to see Q-street and the realities of the D.C. neighborhood and view their own. Q-street in many ways reflects what is happening across the country to many Black communities and Black people. The Black community has been impacted by gentrification, cyclical unemployment, police brutality, etc. The film never uses this vocabulary however, the realities, displacement, and erasure caused by these issues intersected with being Black in America are felt, and in many ways, Residue captures the complexity of emotions that Black Americans feel today.
The film is a catalyst for dialogue and in many ways has the power to unite Black people across the country. Merawi’s vision is for the film to be used in Oakland to discuss gentrification and in cities across the nation to help foster conversation around the damages caused by gentrification. The film is a powerful exploration of the Black urban experience and the emotions that come with it. Check out our exclusive interview with Gerima above.