Based on the 2014 Justin Simien directed film of the same name, Dear White People the series is a continuation of the events that took place near the end of the film. The story follows a group of young African-American Ivy League students at a fictional university and the many racially charged conflicts that are brought on to them.
Consisting of 10 half hour episodes centered around characters in the main cast. Notably, the outspoken Samantha White portrayed by Logan Browning and her controversial college talk radio show named after the series. Despite the negative reaction from social media trolls, the show has already received a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes website.
At first glance, Dear White People can be confused as an updated take on the 80’s hit A Different World. Based solely on the that it’s centered around Black college students. However, this is not the case when it comes to this particular program. Dear White People differs by taking place at a predominately white institution (PWI) instead of a Historically Black University (HBCU). The show’s tagline “A Black face in a white place” makes this fact evidently clear.
Dear White People Perfectly Showcases Different Black Identities in America
Dear White People manages to maximize the different archetypes of Black people in America through its primary cast. Representing many varying internal struggles. The show’s lead, Samantha White (Browning) represents the struggle of understanding what it means to be a biracial woman. While dating a white man and being a Pro-Black activist. These factors cause major friction amongst her peers. While trying to choose which side to identify with in whatever given moment she is in.
Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Hall) and Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton) both represent different ends of Black manhood and masculinity. Fairbanks being the son of the school’s Dean (Obba Babatundé) and is the student body president represents the aspects of the perfect Black man from his appearance down to his persona. Constantly seeking acceptance from his father while trying to find himself in the man his father created him to be.
Higgins differs by being the nerdy introvert staff writer for the student paper struggling to define his sexuality and his own masculinity as a Black man. “The Bad & Bougie” Colandrea “Coco” Conners (Antoinette Robertson) represent struggles of a dark skin Black Woman who seeks validation from her white peers all the while struggling to hide before eventually embracing her roots in Chicago.
Much like A Different World before it, Dear White People tackles relevant social issues affecting Black people in America. Opening with the aftermath of a black face party called “Dear Black People” the story evolves with the later episodes tackling the aspects of Police brutality and surviving it.
One negative aspect of the show is the heavy reliance on the ‘white guilt’ trope where we see the white characters taking much of the blame for most of the events that occur in these characters live while poorly developing them outside of being generic stereotypes. Some of the dialogue in the show also suffers from being a bit cheesy at times particularly their pop culture references.
Overall the show wins with its masterful writing and it’s pure devotion to developing characters. With the success of the show, it would be interesting to see where these characters go in the next season.
Check out Dear White People now streaming on Netflix!