Put some respect on ‘Dear White People’s’ name. In a time where the country is divided and tension is high, Justin Simien’s ‘Dear White People’ brings a refreshing perspective on the topic of “post-racial” liberalism. The Netflix series is based on the 2014 film which focuses on escalating racial tensions at a predominately white college from the perspective of several African American students. Although some of the casting has changed, a lot of the characters from the film make their way into the series.
Simien’s new episodic series of the film (which will start streaming on Netflix April 28th) premiered at the SXSW film festival Monday afternoon. Netflix put up a 30 second teaser on YouTube last month and saw an enormous amount of racist backlash against what was described as an “anti-white” show, which was followed by hashtag “movement” #BoycottNetflix.
The second episode of the show switches the to point of view of Lionel Higgins, the nerdy campus newspaper reporter, played by DeRon Horton (originally portrayed by ‘Everybody Hates Chris’s Tyler James Williams). In this episode they dive into the topic of intersectionality, which I enjoyed because we hardly see that on mainstream television these days. I believe that theme of intersectionality will be explored even more in an episode later in the season that is directed by Moonlight’s Oscar-winning writer-director Barry Jenkins (The GOAT). This topic is important to cover because in college one of the main things kids struggle with is figuring out who they are in society vs what society wants them to be.
I enjoyed how they used satire to explore the divisive issues. If you took away the serious issues that Dear White People tackled, the show is still a very funny comedy, filled with a lot pop culture references that had me and the rest of SXSW audience laughing out loud. This show does a great job of showing both sides of the argument and if people actually give it a chance they will come out with a better idea of what the show is trying to do and the actual intentions its trying to promote.
Overall I think this is going to be an amazing series and I look forward to seeing the rest of the episodes when the show drops next month. Simien and the crew already have plans for future seasons so make sure you go support the show and spread the word!
All 10 episodes of ‘Dear White People’ drops April 28th, on Netflix!