Netflix is continuing the trend of series with provocative content. Dear White People is a 2014 film which has now been adapted for television, a format that would have been a good fit from the beginning. Justin Simien writer and director of the film has brought the same cast of characters to the small screen to tell a longer and more in depth tale.
Netflix creates an interesting platform for a series of this nature. A 10 episode binge where social and racial issues are the forefront are sure to begin a conversation and it most definitely should. Dear White People the film created much buzz with just the title as did the show. People were calling the title racist, provocative and challenging of what is to be accepted. It is a show based on a movie that did push people to think which at times it seems people are afraid of doing. Being offended by a title of a series seems like the perfect distraction so we are not asking for social change but simply having to redirect the insensitive to the nearest wambulance.
It is at times funny and charming and at times it is deeply emotion when connecting the mostly black characters into racially charged situations where they dont have the same privilege as the white student body. It is mainly through the voces of Samantha White and Lionel Higgins that the show progresses. The reason is why is because within the plot these two have media outlets to tell their stories to the student body and therefore it seems to be the filler episodes leading to an episode following Sam or Lionel that hits the hardest and deals with the most controversial subject matter.
We have all heard of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and many others who have been victimized by police brutality. Its a damn shame we still live in a society where the color of a persons skin can determine how quickly the police are willing to pull their guns. Its a shame that in 2017 we still need to share a hashtag #BlackLivesMatter as if to wonder how many other races wouldn’t feel like the do unless there is a hashtag to spread around their social media and another reason to take selfies they would not see the importance of it. All lives everywhere matter the same amount. Period. Anyone who follows that with words like “Well, depending on….” or “After years of study one can see…. (insert random crime stat here)” Needs to have a reality check. Anyone who has been neglected for hundreds of years is going to lash out. Anyone who tells me that I dont have to be as afraid because I am a white male is probably correct in saying that. Reasonable people know that the importance of life is not determined by race, religion, sexuality and gender. Yet here we are in the midst of more tensions than ever in the good old US of A where racism is more prominent than ever as the leader of the country has shown blatant disrespect to minorities and women everywhere.
Dear White People like every series has some episodes that are most definitely better than others. Gabe and Reggie for example are two characters that are meant to fill the love interest roles from either race with Reggie serving as the weakest character leading up to the season finale and game changing final moments. This show definitely needs another season to continue the stories and tribulations of the black student body at Winchester University. Oh and who does not want to hear more of Giancarlo Esposito’s amazing voice as the narrator. I sure do. This provocative series has the intelligence, content and characters worth exploring for at least a few more seasons. Netflix you did the right thing with 13 Reasons Why and now please follow suit with Dear White People.
Netflix continues it’s dominance as the leader in edgy television. The format simply just works, whether that be the original content they create, the content they continue from other networks or the content they work closely with Marvel on. The only poorly scripted original series from Netflix is The Ranch and even still from a fan perspective I understand the need to branch out. I prefer the content such as Thirteen Reasons Why and Dear White People when it comes to drama and realism. Of course the Marvel shows have drawn mostly critical acclaim same with the new seasons of Longmire and Arrested Development that were marketed directly for the streaming service. It works because you don’t have to feel obligated to watch and I generally feel that people are less willing to spoil a show when all the episodes are available in one shot. When it airs on a particular night and the audience needs to tune for that time slot it certainly feels like the rush of being the first to know means you are more likely to want to tell your friends who haven’t seen it and they are more likely to ask because they do not know when they themselves are going to be able to watch the episode. I’m on board for the future and Netflix has a lot upcoming that will hopefully continue to push the boundaries of what is acceptable and can hopefully generate enough conversation that we may actually begin to see somethings change. It’s never a bad thing to have a discussion, it’s how the discussion ends that we really need to be focused on.