Mitchelle Aguilar, Daniela Ramos, Karina Gonzalez
“Dear White People,” based on Justin Simien’s satirical commentary the obstacle of racial identity in higher education touches on many of society’s most relevant social issues like: cultural appropriation, cultural appreciation, and microaggressions that attack a group of minorities. In 2014, Justin Simien’s ended his piece right at the climax where a black-face party is being hosted at a prestigious Ivy League University. In the same sense Simien’s opened his spinoff series in that same climactic scene where we see the students of that university in blackface being filmed by Sam White, the center of the show in terms of external and internal conflicts.
However, why has the series proven to be more effective than the original satirical comedy back in 2014? The answer is the unraveling. There is an unraveling essence to the new series that goes in depth into each character’s internal and external conflicts. With each episode, viewers follow the different lives of Sam White (played by Logan Browning), host of the controversial campus radio show that shares the franchise’s title; president of campus Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell), the well-meaning but often ignorant son of the dean; Coco (Antoinette Robertson), ambitious but insecure, obsessed with being someone’s Mrs.; Reggie (Marque Richardson), Sam’s partner in radical activism who faces a harrowing experience that propels the narrative forward; and Lionel (DeRon Horton), a writer on the school newspaper who is identifying his sexuality and his place within the black community on campus.
The breakup of this Netflix series’ episodes embodies the essence of what TV shows truly are and takes away from the stigma of them just being shorter movies. By introducing each character separately while still allowing the central plot to remain, Justin Simien’s does a phenomenal job at shining light on a controversial and problematic issue while still holding loyalty to the aspects of each character interesting.