Netflix is definitely churning out some amazing programming in 2017. It’s original series like The Get Down, Orange Is The New Black, and Chewing Gum rival or surpass most cable and network programming. This past Friday the streaming network released a new original series based off the movie of the same name, Dear White People, and we are not instant fans!
Dear White People centers on a group of college students at the fictional Ivy League School of Westminster. The campus is picturesque, but just below the surface is seething with racial tension after a blackface party is thrown on campus. Sam White (Logan Browning), campus activist and host of a controversial radio show, “Dear White People,” meets with the other Black organizations on campus demanding a response from the university in this matter. However, mission of unity is splintered and fragmented by outside forces and the insecurities of everyone involved. Then there’s the little matter of her own credibility as it is revealed she has a White boyfriend, Gabe (John Patrick Amedori).
The series picks up where the movie left off, but does a much better job of explaining each of the character’s background. In fact I do not believe I have ever seen a series do such an amazing job of driving a plot forward while elaborating on the past simultaneously. We learn why Coco (Antoinette Roberson) is insecure and status climbing, How awkward Gabe feels occupying traditionally Black space, how overwhelmed Troy (Brandon Bell) is being the president’s son, Reggie’s (Marque Richardson) plight of being Black, woke, and dealing with unrequited love, and how Lionel (DeRon Horton) is coming of age with his sexuality, homophobia, self-esteem, and true identity. These layers are all beautiful, and when you add the current racial tension in America today it only makes it more relevant.
This young cast is phenomenal. Although there are a lot of new faces, you will still find original cast members Brandon Bell and Marque Richardson in the fray. Sure enough the show is controversial, but if it awakens just one person to their own racial biases and ignorance and compels them towards some level of empathy; then it has definitely served it purpose!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning