Netflix is exploring uncharted territory (for the network, at least) with the upcoming series Dear White People. The promising show is bound to be a conversation-starter. Through all of its apparent self-awareness and humor, hopefully it allows people to feel enlightened and educated. The social satire, which picks up where the 2014 film left off, is a poignant yet humorous commentary on the divides in America, set at a fictional Ivy League school. When tensions start to rise at the predominantly white university, uncomfortable conversations are tackled head-on. Although both the series and film are comedies, neither are afraid to speak to hard-hitting problems that need to be discussed, as shown in the new Dear White People trailer.
The 10-episode series, premiering on April 28, holds onto the film's tagline: "A satire about being a black face in a white place." Logan Browning stars as Samantha, an uncensored radio show host and activist who's tired of the social injustices she experiences daily. Samantha, unapologetic and blunt, sets the tone for the show, which will tackle racism, oppression, and privilege in modern-day America.
You can watch the official trailer below to get an idea of what to expect:
Here are some of the important topics that will be explored in Dear White People, based on the trailer.
Similar to the notion of social thriller Get Out, the series depicts that although America is in a post-slavery state, it isn't necessarily post-racial. The Netflix show tackles the country's unthinkable history, which is often swept under the rug, and how it translates to current times. "How did we get here? Who voted you?" a guy asks Samantha when running for student government. She responds, "200 years of [slavery]."
In the the new trailer, one character says to another, "You're not just a black man, but a gay black man." The one who the comment is being directed at is later seen Googling signs of homosexuality.
While power struggles between racial groups in America is clearly a point the series is hitting home, it also tackles issues trickled down to certain dynamics in college. Troy tries to gain power and get students to vote for him in the school government elections since his father is the dean.
Power between gender groups is also addressed when Samantha asks her friend about a party, saying, "That thing where girls wander outside waiting for a senior to date rape them?" Her friend responds, "You're confusing it with the Taming of the Shrew party."
"Having a black vibrator does not count as an interracial relationship," Samantha says on her radio show. Ironically, the activist is hiding her relationship with a white man. Her friend tells her, "Don't fall in love with your oppressor."
When a radio listener tells Samantha people need to come together, she responds, "When are you gonna wake up to your white privilege, man?" at which point he says, "I'm black." Here, audiences can see the comedy and the show's self-deprecation (while also speaking to an important issue).
The series — focusing on a group of frustrated, confused, determined, and strong-willed millennials — will also show what happens when activism goes awry. Conflicts arise when the students attempt to join forces, yet have intentions of their own, while getting sidetracked and jumping to conclusions along the way to their ultimate goal.
The tone and bluntness of the series alone may make viewers feel uncomfortable, as it should. For instance, the trailer teases black students talking about white kids dressing up like African Americans for a party. Samantha's show is sure to stir up unfiltered conversation and throw "correctness" out the window. And in the trailer, a student implies that such tensions arise "when a country refuses to address its history with slavery."
Samantha expresses the annoyance of people ignorantly addressing her for being "ethnic-looking." "When you ask someone who looks ethnically different, 'What are you?' the answer is usually, 'A person about to slap this sh*t out of you,'" she says during her show.
Covering topics of race, beliefs, love, emotion, and societal standards, the series will showcase what happens when two or more of those elements contradict one another on a personal level. It'll put a spotlight on the fluidity of figuring out one's identity in the midst of a county's identity crisis.
With its plethora of profound, uncomfortable, and universal topics, Dear White People is sure to be of value to any American, regardless of race.