Dear White People: A Public Service Announcement

Kayla Staff Image

Recently, Netflix released all ten episodes of their series Dear White People, which is based on the movie and book with the same name. The series carries over a lot of what happens in the movie and then expands on it. What helps is that the creator of the book and movie, Justin Simien, was on board for the series as creator. Another facet that helps is some of the actors from the movie came back to reprise their roles.

The TV series starts off like the movie, where at the fictional Winchester University a blackface party was thrown by the satire magazine Pastiche, which of course caused outrage (as it should). This party spiraled into a chain of events that brought Winchester University to its knees. After the party, head of the BSU (Black Student Union) Samantha White went onto her radio show called what else but Dear White People to express her outrage and to demand that the dean take immediate action.

While all of this is going on, for the first five episodes, each one focuses on a specific character and what they are dealing with at Winchester University. The series starts off with Samantha White. Although she is head of BSU and has her podcast, the other members of the BSU and her friends are up in arms when they find out she is dating Gabe, a TA who happens to be white. I have no problem with interracial dating at all, but I wasn’t surprised that Sam’s friends, especially her best friend, Joelle, were upset when they found out the news. They felt that Sam was being hypocritical by being pro-black yet dating someone white. I think that Joelle was more upset that Sam didn’t tell her who she was dating than the fact that he’s white. Side note: Joelle is one of my favorite characters on the show, and I would love to see her backstory next season.

cover for Dear White People the book

 

The show goes on to focus on some of the other characters from the movie like Troy, the dean’s son, who is also running for student body president and has a lot of issues and pressures of his own. There is Coco, who is dating Troy and used to be friends with Sam. Lionel is a writer for the Winchester Independent who is basically in on all of the action and is quite the shaker-upper.

What I love about the show is that it goes into detail that the movie wasn’t able to. Audiences get a backstory on Sam and Coco’s friendship and why it fell apart. We also get to see more of Coco and Troy’s relationship—though I’m using that term very loosely. Audiences also get a backstory on Reggie, who is one of Sam’s friends. Reggie was in the film but we didn’t learn much about him except for that he’s in the BSU and that he’s in love with Sam. That dynamic gets explored more on the show, which I appreciate.

The show got a chance to go into more depth on more issues at Winchester and for its students that the movie didn’t get the chance to. I was upset that the show ended on a cliffhanger, because I have so many questions. The show isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely a must watch. The show isn’t available in our catalog yet, but the movie and the book are.

Have you seen or read the book Dear White People? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Happy reading and watching!

~Kayla

Dear White People:

Check out this movie!

Kayla works at Squirrel Hill as a Clerk, so when you come up to the customer services desk you might see her face! When she’s not at the library she enjoys reading, watching TV & listening to music. You might also find her at your local Starbucks, because she loves her Frappuccinos.