Ackee and Saltfish
I typed, “Ackee andSaltfish into the Google search book and the first item on the list of results was some Caribbean food of Ghanaian origin. Throughout my twenty years of living in Ghana, I have never seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt this dish. Fortunately or unfortunately, the food is not my subject. Type that same search term into YouTube and sheer brilliance will unfold before your very eyes. I am talking Tarantino with no so much blood, meets Kelsey Grammar, meets Chuck Lore with a not so huge budget in about five minutes!
I am very aware this is an extremely unfair and probably wrong comparison. Now you are probably excepting something that will blow your mind. It will not. Kindly ignore all that appears above, Ackee and Saltfish is a very short web series about a beautiful, comical, real friendship. Its first season contains six episode, all available on youtube and a much longer film.
In Five episodes, Cecile Emeke the producer seeks to do not much, except show the friendship between two young, beautiful black girls living in the United Kingdom. The episodes are perfectly random and somewhat nonlinear. The set is not glamorous with blinding stage lights and consumerist props. The cast is just two actors. The runtime is about between three to six minutes. The most consistent connections in the season are the beauty of true friendship and humor. From back bread to Lauryn Hill tickets to Carpet shopping, the actors perform very naturally and elegantly – just having fun.
Aside the seemingly effortlessness in the performance, I was not drawn into it so much. If it is comedy, there is tons of funny shows; if it is African cinematography, there plenty on Iroko and Netflix. I believe what makes this web series stand out is the “everyday-ness” and randomosity. The beauty in how the friendship comes first and humor solves all. Also, the new African hippie aesthetic attached to it.
The artistry of Cecile Emeke, a maverick cinematographer, is also quintessential to the appeal of the show. As seen in her socially aware open-air philosophy series, Strolling; Ackee and Saltfish also incorporates nonlinear transition, a soulful musical score and real people, not overly stereotypical characters. Unlike other hit comedies [insert popular shows name] there does not seem to be angle that is exploited. The most direct aim of the Ackee and Saltfish is to preach that love solves all. And like Obama on an election campaign podium, it has won over many lovers, admires and all those between. Not to suggest that the actors [Michelle Tiwo and Vanessa Babirye] and plot do not massage your emotion like clay; rather, you are too busy laughing to even notice or care. Another thing that made me love Ackee and Saltfish is how it does not have enough time to be boring.
It is apparent I am an ardent fan by now, however I have mixed expectations for the future of the show. With the mild hot success and buzz the pilot season has garnered, Ackee and Saltfish could go one of many ways. It could grow into a full 120-minute film and reach a wider audience. Yet, this will mean a death of the series, much to my chagrin. [Do not do this Cecile]. Alternatively, it could migrate from YouTube to more traditional television series platforms. This will translate into longer runtime, recurrent themes and other characters.
All my maverick idealistic expectations aside, the show has established a solid fan base in an era where the African diaspora is obsessed with reclaiming the traditional African aesthetic, and showcasing this beauty to the world. All other bullshit aside, watch and eat Ackee and Saltfish. In today’s world of so much product, so much information and so little time, five minutes of laughter is a darling you must behold.
Just enjoy the show for the amazing work of art it is. i am feel somewhere between seven out of ten for the first season.I cant wait for the next.
Watch the show here, for free!
Have you tried Ackee and Saltfish, both the food and show? What do you think? What other obscurities in my boring life should I babble about? The comment box is yours.
Written by Hakeem Adam
Photo credit – Official show website.