Prepare for Dear White People the Netflix Show

first_img Watch These Movies Before ‘Don’t Let Go’‘Cannon Busters’ Is The Black Anime We’ve Been Waiting… Stay on target If you’re looking for a brand new Netflix show to binge watch, Dear White People is now available on the streaming service. As the blunt, accusatory title suggests, Dear White People is about contemporary collegiate Black perspectives some outside viewers may find… enlightening. While the show will certainly be better than the garbage that is Iron Fish, I’m hoping its racial politics are slightly more coherent and less reliant on respectability than other Marvel Netflix show Luke Cage.But before you commit to Dear White People the 2017 Netflix show, see where it began with Dear White People the 2014 indie movie.After working in the film industry in various publicity capacities, in 2012 writer-director Justin Simien launched a crowdfunding campaign to film his passion project script about being a ”Black face in a very white space.” The campaign raised $41,000 after only asking for $25,000. Two years later in 2014, the film opened at Sundance and then the rest of America.That was also the year when I graduated college, and the comedy and drama of Dear White People the film turned out to be the perfect way to reflect on those four years of my academic and social life. For one thing, the film’s climax takes place at a college Halloween party where many white students are in blackface. The credits show a montage of actual recent college parties like this, and my alma mater Northwestern University is one of the offenders.However, while the title suggests the film is meant to be some kind of lesson in modern racial politics for clueless white people, to me the actual value of the narrative is the variety of modern maturing yet young Black perspectives it shows. Black students have different opinions and beliefs than Black professors (Dennis Haysbert). Wealthy Black students have different experiences than poorer ones. Woke Black women with lighter skin see their role in the world differently than Black women with darker skin and internalized anti-black attitudes (Teyonah Parris). Gay Black dudes (including one played by famous young Chris Rock surrogate Tyler James Williams as well as Simien himself in real life) lead different lives than straight ones.Not everyone has the same political views either, despite the shared heritage and romantic idea of a single loving community. Radical biracial radio host Samantha White chastises a viewer for his white privilege (which I should stress is definitely a real thing worth chastising) only to awkwardly learn the viewer is a Black guy who just “sounds” white. She’s also dating a white guy and feels conflicted about it. They’re Black people, so they’re people, and people aren’t always the same or get along. But that’s okay! That’s great even!Animal House or Old School this is not. The perpetual tension of Black protagonists in a largely white, upper-class college campus even creates a very different (and accurate in my experience) atmosphere than something like the fake historically Black college of the otherwise comparable Cosby Show college spin-off A Different World.Dear White People also uses a heightened sense of style to help make its Ivy League university microcosm more representative of larger current race relations. The dialogue and framing come across as a perfectly composed combination of Spike Lee and a Black Wes Anderson, or maybe this clip from CB4. Not quite Boondocks angry and vulgar but it’s in the same ballpark when it comes to intelligent, scathing, hilarious satire. It’s not punishingly twee or unrealistically quirky and unnatural. Some people I knew in school definitely talked and acted like this. But the overall vibe is exaggerated in a way that’s good, fun, funny, and effectively drives home the varied and nuanced messages. It’s a movie!As far as Black movies go Dear White People is certainly better than the old, religious, vaguely anti-intellectual and pro-child abuse Tyler Perry movies. The initial pitch trailer even had the characters mocking Perry’s prolific work. There’s no irony needed to enjoy Dear White People.The large cast of rich and complex characters keep Dear White People from just being a pretentious college essay on film. You’ll wish you had spent more time with them. Fortunately, Dear White People the Netflix show is set to fix this problem. The 10-episode storyline of the first season seems to be a longer and more fleshed-out retelling/continuation of the original film, kind of like Evil Dead II.Joining Simien are new acclaimed directors like Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins and Queen Sugar’s Tina Mabry. Some actors from the film even reprise their roles like Brandon Bell as Troy Fairbanks. Other actors, however, became too famous between the release of the film and the TV show. Original star Tessa Thompson pals around with Thor and Jeff Goldblum now.TV show adaptations of movies is a pretty hot new trend these days. But for every artistic success like Fargo or Bates Motel we get a totally pointless and cynical cash-in like Taken or Rush Hour or Training Day or Lethal Weapon. Luckily, Dear White People looks like it’s on the better end of the spectrum. So whatever kind of person you are, before you watch Dear White People the show, treat yourself to Dear White People the movie. Unless you’re angry that this show even exists. In that case, you probably need it more than anyone else, and we’re all just laughing at you.For real, don’t touch my hair.last_img


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