Racism has been a very controversial topic throughout the years and we have watched a lot of movies about racismin the United States in the 20th century such as The Help, 12 Years a Slave, and more. However, nowadays, racism still exists and that is what Dear White People is about.
The story follows the lives of several African-American students attending to the fictional Ivy League college Winchester University. Troy is a boy that wants to make his father proud and in order to do that he has to live in different worlds, the white one and the black one. In addition, there is Lionel, a gay student that wants to find his place in the world. Also, there is Coco, a girl that has identity issues since she wants to be famous without embracing her blackness. Lastly, there is Sam, a student who is in charge of demonstrating that racism still exists in the university.
The purpose of the movie Dear White People is to present the lives of African-American teenagers and how they face their identity issues in a college that is surrounded with white people, that is to say, they are a minority.
The idea of the movie came from new director Justin Simien. Simien began to write the first draft of the script in 2006 while he was studying at Chapman University in Orange, California. The movie reflects the life of Simien during college, where he was one of the few black people at a university filled with white people. Justin Simien states that during his stay at Chapman University he had to live in two different worlds, the black one and the white one and, of course, it was not easy.
For Simien, it was very important to find his identity, the type of black that he represents. For that reason, Simien wanted to reflect his point of view in an indie movie while creating a discussion about the state of racism in America, especially at the universities.
Increasing the Audience for Dear White People
It was not an easy task to carry on with the movie. Since Simien is new in the movie industry, many Hollywood establishments rejected the project stating that it was too personal. However, Justin Simien did not give up and continue looking for options to produce his movie.
One of the director’s best ideas was to create social media accounts in order to increase the audience of the project and know the opinions of people regarding the movie. For example, Simien created a Twitter account impersonating one of the characters of the movie, Samantha White. The Twitter feed is @DeerWhitePeople and is fill with controversial commentaries about racism in order to get the attention of people.
The Twitter account increased the popularity of the movie and people were anxious to watch it. According to Justin Simien, the Twitter feed was useful to create lines in the movie and to develop Sam’s character and the reactions of people towards her comments.
Dear White People is a movie that you must watch because it is funny and explores racism in a different and humorous way.