Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Madison Sheila Simmons

Something Different About Today

SOMETHING DIFFERENT ABOUT TODAY from DFPA | Bowie State University on Vimeo.

Thesis Statement

The main goal of this senior thesis is to prompt and inform the public of gentrification in the United States capital of Washington D.C. through the art form of film. Showcasing the intruding life-changing effects gentrification has on the black community in Washington D.C. Black -historical landmarks, community staples, and homes are washed away by new government building projects. Gentrification in D.C. has spread increasingly and rapidly over the years. Wiped and shaved down for a high-priced living. However, those whose homes are taken away and who cannot afford high-priced living are pushed out of their communities. There has been a lack of artistic focus on gentrification in Washington D.C., a problem that is silently occurring in many black communities. The film Something Different About Today will shed light on these events from the perspective of the Black community. Mainly a black family dealing with the repercussion of gentrification in their neighborhood. 

  • I created a short film titled, Something Different About Today for my senior thesis. It centers around the social and economic issue of gentrification. Mainly, gentrification in the Washington D.C. area of black communities, which has become a growing issue in the past few years. Gentrification first came to my attention when the statement “Something Different About Today” popped into my head. “Something Different About Today” kept gnawing at me, but for the life of me, I didn’t understand what it meant or what it meant to me. It became such an anchoring thought that I wrote it down on a dry-erase board in my room, where it sat for a whole year. What is different about today? I keep asking myself as a black woman, a student, a daughter, a writer, and a filmmaker. 

    Then it came to me. The idea of what makes me different from others, the struggles that divide us by class, generation, and the most strenuous roadblock in our society today, ethnicity. By Answering my question, I was able to find that gentrification targets black neighborhoods, bringing about a different day. Having my target issue, I went to create my story. I researched gentrification in Washington D.C. and saw pictures before and after government building projects went up in historic black neighborhoods. All this information cumulative to the story of the Neville’s, particularly of Roison Neville, a 14-year-old African American girl, and seeing her witness gentrification through her own young eyes.