Roosevelt Jackson’s life plays like a real-life movie reel. In his mid-20s, his debut film “In It To Win It,” was a success. The film earned the young filmmaker high accolades and glowing reviews, and prompted some to refer to him as “The Next Spike Lee.”
However, Jackson’s life would soon spiral out of control. He battled depression, was homeless, and tried to commit suicide three times.
Jackson was in a battle for his life and he looked as though he was down for the count. But with his dying mother and his newlywed wife in his corner cheering him on, Jackson would make a courageous comeback. He has since written and produced several stage plays and films.
On Thursday, April 6, 2017, his newest film, “Residue,” made its Baltimore premiere with a Red Carpet debut at the Charles Theater located at 1711 N. Charles Street. Residue is the compelling story of how police brutality affects the lives of families living in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and surrounding areas.
“Residue is a story of families who have to put their lives together after a senseless act of police brutality claims the life of a character named Ty Johnson,” said Jackson. “The film looks at the other lives that are impacted, including that of his father Clay Johnson. This film focuses on all the cleaning up that has to take place after all the heartache and pain. These families have to rebound and put their lives back together.
“The film does not mention a city or a particular police department. The film just says, ‘city police.’ I see and hear the news, and use this information to write my own movie scripts. These are real-life situations played by performers,” Jackson said.
According to Jackson, who is now 48, Residue was filmed primarily in Baltimore and Washington, while some scenes were shot in Virginia. Jackson said he wrote, produced and edited the film, which is mostly comprised of Baltimore performers.
“This initially started as a short PSA,” recalled Jackson. “Now it’s nearly a two-hour movie. It took me about two months to write it.”
In addition to “In It To Win It” and “Residue,” Jackson’s movie credits include “Life According to Rasheeda,” while his stage play credits include “Through Darkness Came Light,” and “If Loving God is Wrong I Don’t Want to be Right!”
Jackson reflected on his own life story.
“I took the money that I had made from doing hair shows, and used it to produce In It To Win It,” recalled Jackson. “The film was very successful, and I started smelling myself. And just like that, God took everything away. He said, ‘you’re not ready.’ I didn’t want to write anymore, I tried to commit suicide three times, I slept in my car, and on people’s couches. I lived like that for two years. It was a very dark time in my life. But when my mother got sick, I knew I needed to change some things around.”
Jackson said his mother Christine Jackson was dying of cancer. His father Franklin Roosevelt Jackson, Sr. died in 1987.
“My father died two weeks after I graduated from high school, and now my mother was dying,” said Jackson. “Nobody believed I could get myself together to help take care of my mother, but I did. I also met Niani, who would become my wife. She read some of my writings and encouraged me to do something with them and to begin writing again.
“When my mother read one of my stories she told me to do something with it. When she realized I had gotten myself together, and was on the right path, she was at peace. She died in my arms in the ER. That was in 2001. Her last words were ‘I am okay.’”
Jackson is a native of Washington, D.C. and was raised in Oxon Mill, Md. He and his wife Niani, who is also his business partner, are the parents of two children, ages nine and 15.
Jackson talked about what he hopes to achieve through Residue.
“I want viewers to realize that people have a lot of feelings and thoughts about police brutality. People are going to be shocked about some of the views. I want it to help educate, and to get people talking without yelling. If that happens, then I’ve done my job.”
Dr. Tammi Rogers portrays Mayor Rogers in the film.
“Residue is a docudrama that captures people’s views as to how they see a particular situation,” said Dr. Rogers.
“I like the way Roosevelt has captured what people are thinking about the brutality going on in the world. This film is about these families and their aftermath as a result of police brutality. We seldom get to see the aftermath. This movie brings it all together.”