Dear White People

Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear White People is satire about racial identity and the struggles of being a black student in a predominately white Ivy-like university.

Following a chain of events leading up to a black-face themed party hosted by a naive, simi-racist, possibly homophobic Kurt Fletcher (Kyle Gallner),  son of the school’s president. The title Dear White People comes from a popular campus radio show hosted by Winchester University student, Sam White (Tessa Thompson), whose intention is to bring awareness to the racial issues that exist within the school. Sam is one of four black students whose story is the central of this film and her dialogue is provocative and brews controversy among the school. 

Growing up bi-racial, Sam can find herself conflicted with choosing sides. This becomes more apparent after she is elected the head of the traditionally black residence hall, succeeding the big shot Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P Bell). Troy is son of Winchester University’s dean of the students. The dean (Dennis Haysbert) expects nothing less than quintessential from Troy. And like any child with set bar, Troy continues to come up short. All the while, Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams), the nerdy gay dude, struggles to find a residence and doesn’t seem to fit in with the blacks, gays, and life in general. Lionel is a silent but deadly writer who hears all and sees all.  With not fitting being hard enough, trying to make yourself something you are not, has become a norm for Coco Conners (Teyonah Parris). With blue contacts and a blonde wig, Coco goes out of her way to suppress her roots, while hoping to be a conventional youtube star.

Dear White People is intelligent, remarkably funny, and addresses a current situation within America in a very articulate manner. And regardless of your race, this a movie for everybody. There is a piece of this film that will resonate with each and every one of us.

Even though this movie is through my very decidedly black point of view, it’s speaking to a human experience.
— Director Justin Simien