38. Dear White People
Release Year: 2017
Creator: Justin Simien
Starring: Logan Browning, Marque Richardson, Antoinette Robertson, Ashley Blaine Featherson, Brandon P. Bell, John Patrick Amedori, DeRon Horton
The series is based on the movie of the same name and follows a group of African-American students at fictional Winchester University. The college is predominantly white and the first episode sees a group of white students hosting a “blackface party” that serves as a rallying cry for the minority students. When the group of students learns about the party, they crash the party and break it up. The aftermath of that party sees Sam, who hosts a campus radio show called “Dear White People” address how racially-insensitive a party like that is. The episodes show a different viewpoint from our group of characters as we see their perspective. First, we see how they learned of the party, what they did when they showed up and how they handled this blatant racism.
The show is satirical and absurdist in nature, but it addresses very real issues affecting campuses across the country. But it’s also confronting issues outside the college environment. One of the most powerful moments occurred in episode 5 when one of our main characters is held at gunpoint by campus security after he told his friend not to use the racial slur that’s repeated in a rap song and a fight breaks out.
Beyond the overt racial tones and conversation it presents, the show is also about college-aged students figuring out who they are and who they want to be. A complicated love triangle is in play too that adds another layer to one of the better new shows on Netflix.