Netflix is coming strong with their content lately. I for one, am too happy that we are getting more consciously aware TV shows, documentaries and movies. This series includes actors/actress Logan Browning, Brandon P Bell, DeRon Horton, Antionette Robertson, Marque Richardson, not to mention Obba Babatunde, and of course narrated by Giancarlo Esposito. Dear White People the TV series is adapted from the 2014 film that explores four Black students and their experience in a mostly white populated Ivy League College. The premise of the movie and TV show is about a black face party (a party where non-minorities dress as a stereotype of Black people) and the aftermath of trying to get through a college, that racism is still alive.
The Netflix series goes more in depth with the exploration of each student experience and the importance of intersectionalities. For example, we have the character Lionel who doesn’t care for labels but is a Black gay male trying to find his voice outside of writing. There is Colandrea, the dark skin Black girl who’s been dealing with internalized racism/assimilation or what she would call, "survival". We have the campus president and overall token Black guy, Troy that is trying to make everyone else happy all while trying to figure out if he wants to be a puppet anymore. (Please note that these characters are being reduced to my simple observation and the when watching the show, you get a glimpse or if you’re Black/POC you can relate to this deeply and understand having to shift through worlds).
It explains the frustration of POC (People of Color) students in white spaces and how easily they are silenced and shut down. For anyone who thinks All Lives Matter, or think Black people should just listen to police, or for some reason thinks that reverse racism is real should watch this show. I haven’t seen such a great representation of the issues going on since School Daze (A remarkable movie directed by Spike Lee). Not just within race but double standards with women, colorism, the role dark skin women play within masculinity and femininity, and the complexities of hyper masculinity men are taught, just to point out a few examples. The main character happens to be a light skin Sam White, voice of Dear White People and apart of the BSU (Black Student Union). Sam is about speaking out and showing up. I like the complexity of Sam’s character. She’s a mixed Black girl who’s down, but feels as though she has to prove herself more because she happened to fall in love with a white man. But while being a light skin Black girl they explore Sam’s problematic behavior while trying to figure herself out. I’m impressed with the writers of how on point they were with her character, I think the only downfall is that, and this is my opinion, but so many “down” Black tv shows always have a light skin Black girl as the heroine. I would like to see that challenged. Don’t get me wrong I know we have our Issa Rae’s and Michelea Coel’s but I want more. Don’t get more wrong I am a light skin Black girl that happens to have a white boyfriend too but I’m overseeing it on tv. I want to see more shows challenging their audience, stop trying to make people comfortable with blackness if you’re not going to show all the spectrums. (okay rant over)
But seriously, shows like these are mere gems, especially in the time we’re in now, when it seems that everyday ignorance grows stronger and stronger. If you haven’t seen it, please get on it.
Words by Tesia Pennie