Dear White People (TV series)
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|Dear White People|
|Created by||Justin Simien|
|Based on||Dear White People|
by Justin Simien
|Narrated by||Giancarlo Esposito|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||30 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||21–36 minutes|
|Original release||April 28, 2017 –|
Dear White People is an American comedy-drama television series on Netflix that follows several black college students at an Ivy League institution, touching on issues surrounding modern American race relations. It is based on the 2014 film of the same name. The film's writer and director, Justin Simien, returned to write and direct episodes of the series. This series stars Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, DeRon Horton and Antoinette Robertson. Each episode focuses on a particular character, except for the finale. Netflix ordered ten 30-minute episodes and the first season was released on April 28, 2017. On June 30, 2017, Netflix renewed the series for a second season which premiered on May 4, 2018. On June 21, 2018, the series was renewed for a third season which was released on August 2, 2019. On October 2, 2019, the series was renewed for its fourth and final season and will consist of 10 episodes set to premiere in 2020.
Cast and characters
- Logan Browning as Samantha White, a college student trying to wake people up to the social issues still at play at Winchester.
- Brandon P. Bell as Troy Fairbanks. Bell reprises his role from the film.
- DeRon Horton as Lionel Higgins. A highly intelligent school reporter, with some emotional issues.
- Antoinette Robertson as Colandrea "Coco" Conners, an ambitious black woman who antagonizes Samantha.
- John Patrick Amedori as Gabe Mitchell, Samantha's main love interest.
- Ashley Blaine Featherson as Joelle Brooks. Featherson reprises her role from the film (the character is credited as "Curls" in the film).
- Marque Richardson as Reggie Green. Richardson reprises his role from the film.
- Giancarlo Esposito as Dr. Edward Ruskins / The Narrator. A former professor at Winchester who served as the narrator for the first two seasons.
- DJ Blickenstaff as Silvio. Lionel's love interest
- Caitlin Carver as Muffy Tuttle
- Ally Maki as Ikumi
- Obba Babatundé as Dean Fairbanks
- Brandon Black as Pastor Kordell
- Wyatt Nash as Kurt Fletcher
- John Rubinstein as President Fletcher, Kurt's father
- Brant Daugherty as Thane Lockwood
- Nia Long as Neika Hobbs
- Nia Jervier as Kelsey Phillips. Jervier reprises her role from the film (the character is credited as "Coco's Friend" in the film).
- Courtney Sauls as Brooke. Sauls reprises her role from the film (the character is credited as "Wild" in the film).
- Jeremy Tardy as Rashid Mburu (Seasons 1-3)
- Jemar Michael as Al. Michael reprises his role from the film (the character is credited as "Smoothe" in the film).
- Francia Raisa as Vanessa
- Alex Alcheh as Milo
- Lena Waithe as P. Ninny. Waithe was a producer for the film.
- Tessa Thompson (two episodes) as Rikki Carter.
- Tyler James Williams (two episodes) as Carson Rhodes.
- Brandon Alter (one episode) as George. Alter reprises his role from the film.
- Wendy Raquel Robinson (two episodes) as Tina White.
|Volume 1||10||April 28, 2017|
|Volume 2||10||May 4, 2018|
|Volume 3||10||August 2, 2019|
Volume 1 (2017)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original release date|
|1||1||"Chapter I"||Justin Simien||Justin Simien||Samantha||April 28, 2017|
|Samantha White films a "Dear Black People" party hosted by Pastiche, a student magazine group hosted by white students. Holding a black student caucus to discuss the matter, when her friends learn she is dating Gabe, a white student and the teaching assistant from her class. The fellow black students start losing faith in her awareness and she is torn about what to do. Lionel talks to her, and tells her he has the truth of who really invited the DBP partygoers. After her radio show was replaced, Samantha barges into the studio and rants on-air about the racism on campus, confessing to hacking into the Pastiche account to send invites to prove something; she also apologizes to Gabe.|
|2||2||"Chapter II"||Justin Simien||Justin Simien||Lionel||April 28, 2017|
|A timid Lionel learned of Pastiche's Dear Black People party from a randomized invitation, and informed the other Black student groups, who shut it down. After writing the article about the party, his editor points out the flaws of his piece but had it front page because it would sell; encouraging Lionel to find more to the story and improve upon what he already found out. This leads Lionel to following breadcrumbs, which proves Samantha hacked Pastiche's account to send invites; Lionel secretly forewarns Sam, who then confesses on the school radio. Getting a haircut from roommate Troy, Lionel opens up that he's gay.|
|3||3||"Chapter III"||Tina Mabry||Chuck Hayward||Troy||April 28, 2017|
|Troy Fairbanks, son of the Dean, is running for student body president. While Troy is at a donors party, Lionel texts him about the Dear Black People party. Seeing this, Troy has the campus police peacefully shut it down. Troy brings Lionel along to see his campaign trail, and Kurt (Pastiche's editor) asks Troy for help to get people to stop hating him, but is brushed off. After Troy spends the night with Professor Neika Hobbs, come morning he won the election. At his dorm, Troy receives blackmail from Kurt, forcing his hand. Meanwhile, star running back Thane Lockwood dies at a party.|
|4||4||"Chapter IV"||Tina Mabry||Njeri Brown||Coco||April 28, 2017|
|In flashbacks, Coco and Samantha had a starting friendship which broke apart from differing ideas on their social groups; Samantha joined BSU while Coco joined and left a sorority. When trying to get with Troy, Coco finds he was dating Samantha at the time. Today, Colandrea "Coco" Conners identifies the least with black identity compared to Samantha, and even defends the Dear Black People party. Confronting Samantha at her radio booth, Coco points out her academic leniency is because she looks more white than herself, whereas she would have been more punished. At the Pegasus Party, Coco gleefully locks out the Sorority leaders she once tried to impress.|
|5||5||"Chapter V"||Barry Jenkins||Chuck Hayward & Jack Moore||Reggie||April 28, 2017|
|Reggie creates an app to measure how woke someone is, secretly to impress Samantha, now needing an investor. At Thane's memorial with Al, Rashid and Joelle, they make a new friend in an Asian girl called Ikumi. After seeing a low-quality movie with Lionel, the group point out the racial stereotypes in cinema. Having a late dinner, Joelle and Reggie argue over Reggie's cyberstalking Samantha, but resolve it by going to a party at Addison's house. When Addison repeats the n-word from a rap song, a drunk Reggie calls him out on it and begins an argument; with Kurt fueling matters. When someone bumps Reggie into Addison, cops arrive just then and demand to see ID. As Reggie refuses, the cops draw arms on him, forcing compliance. After seeing Reggie's ID, everyone is told to leave, leaving Reggie traumatized.|
|6||6||"Chapter VI"||Steven Tsuchida||Leann Bowen||Samantha||April 28, 2017|
|Samantha berates campus police for drawing a gun on Reggie at the party, while the BSU have a heated debate over campus police and how to make a change. Al calls for the snitch who called the cops found, while Coco calls for managing 'blackness' having grown up in Chicago. Kurt approaches Samantha for something to stop the racial tension, but is shot down. Reggie misses his appointment with the Dean about the matter, so Samantha organizes a blockade of the Student Pep Rally. By meeting Gabe's friends for coffee, Samantha is reminded that the reason Reggie missed his meeting is because he has been made a public victim. After tracking Reggie down, they go to an open mic cafe where Reggie reads his poetry about that experience. Heading home, Reggie opens up about how he sees greatness in Samantha.|
|7||7||"Chapter VII"||Nisha Ganatra||Jack Moore||Gabe||April 28, 2017|
|Gabe goes to Samantha's room to check on her after the Pep Rally blockade fails. Samantha tells him she was taking care or Reggie, and that causes Gabe to suspect something happened between the two. At the next black student caucus Troy announces that a town hall will be held on the issue, which the BSU is quick to call for it to be protested not only by black students, but by all marginalized groups on campus. Joelle and Gabe are tasked with gathering support from these groups and along the way he asks her for advice regarding his doubts with Samantha. Gabe then admits to calling the cops at the Addison party to Joelle. The next morning the Independent releases the audio of Gabe's 911 call which Samantha, as well as the rest of the black students take badly and Gabe no longer welcome with them.|
|8||8||"Chapter VIII"||Charlie McDowell||Nastaran Dibai||Lionel||April 28, 2017|
|Following Gabe's ostracization from Armstrong-Parker, Lionel sits down with Silvio pitches the idea for a cover on Troy. Silvio delegates the assignment to Brooke and tasks Lionel with a fluff piece. Lionel ignores Silvio, tags with Troy to a bar and learns of the pressure Troy feels from being a 'model minority figure'. Later that night in the Independent offices, Silvio tells Lionel off for disobeying his instructions and being absent when Samantha clashed yet again with Pastiche's editors at the parade. With no paper to back the BSU up on the issue, Pastiche has a free pass to spin the events in their favor. Lionel decides to write up his original article anyway about what he has learnt over the course of the evening, effectively painting an image of Troy as a 'Mouthpiece and a mascot".|
|9||9||"Chapter IX"||Nisha Ganatra||Chuck Hayward & Jack Moore||Coco||April 28, 2017|
|Coco confronts Lionel on his article, only to be surprised by Troy who seems completely fine with the confession being public. Troy and Coco are invited to attend a party at the home of the Hancocks, a wealthy family who financially support Winchester. While discussing the upcoming town hall, the Hancocks express a desire to Troy, Coco and the Dean to see Armstrong-Parker integrated or risk losing their funding. Coco also finds out about Troy's, now over, affair with Professor Neika Hobbs. Coco, behind Troy's back, goes to Samantha to see if she can get her to drop the protest and fails to do so. Troy happens to show up and sees this, later breaking the truth to Coco that he knows she's only with him because of what he represents and that he no longer wants to see her.|
|10||10||"Chapter X"||Justin Simien||Justin Simien||none||April 28, 2017|
|The final episode of the first season focuses on all the main cast rather then one as all previous episodes have. While Reggie goes to read his poem on the campus radio, Samantha and Gabe talk outside the studio. Samantha apologies for not having his back after the publication of the 911 call, but Gabe confronts about her having slept with Reggie and that he doesn't know if he is willing to forgive her for it. Shortly after Lionel arrives and learns about the intent to integrate Armstrong-Parker through Samantha. After digging deeper, he learns that the Hancocks have pushed similar policy before, however when he presents this to Silvio he is once again shot down, this time because the Hancocks are the founders and primary sponsor of the 'Independent'. As night falls and the town hall is set to start, it becomes apparent that not only the BSU, but also students who believe Thane's death has been overshadowed arrive to protest the town hall. Coco, in a grab for power, locks Troy outside with the protesters and takes control of the town hall. As the final question rolls around, Coco feels pressured and passes the mic onto Lionel, who proceeds to surprise everyone when he publicly discloses the universities shady dealings with the Hancocks and having uploaded an article to the Independent's site with the proof. At the same time, a group of students led by Pastiche's staff arrive with the intent to show solidarity for the campus police. The combination of this all finally pushes all protesters past a boiling point and Troy, sick of being a puppet, grabs a shovel, smashes a glass pane and is promptly arrested for destruction of property by campus police.|
Volume 2 (2018)
This article needs improved plot summaries. (May 2018)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original release date|
|11||1||"Chapter I"||Justin Simien||Justin Simien||Samantha||May 4, 2018|
|12||2||"Chapter II"||Kevin Bray||Chuck Hayward||Reggie||May 4, 2018|
|Reggie suffers flashbacks from being held at gunpoint by campus police (who assumed he "didn't belong" at university until a white student intervened to "vouch" for him). Support comes from an unexpected figure.|
|13||3||"Chapter III"||Charlie McDowell||Justin Simien||Lionel||May 4, 2018|
|Lionel party-hops with Silvio and discovers a new friend, Wesley.|
|14||4||"Chapter IV"||Kimberly Peirce||Njeri Brown||Coco||May 4, 2018|
|Coco makes a life-changing decision, with the support of an unexpected friend.|
|15||5||"Chapter V"||Salli Richardson-Whitfield||Leann Bowen||Joelle||May 4, 2018|
|Joelle meets her competitor for top-grade in anatomy and they're not at all what she expected.|
|16||6||"Chapter VI"||Justin Simien||Jack Moore & Chuck Hayward||Lionel||May 4, 2018|
|Lionel must juggle his personal life and faux-professional obligations while helping Brooke hunt down the mysterious alt-right internet troll. All they find is the shocking fate of Sorbet, Kelsey's stolen medically prescribed comfort dog, but the evening holds a few more surprises for Lionel.|
|17||7||"Chapter VII"||Steven Tsuchida||Yvette Lee Bowser & Nastaran Dibai||Troy||May 4, 2018|
|Troy finds his voice, comedic and otherwise, by partially confronting the pain he's caused others – Reggie, Sam and Coco.|
|18||8||"Chapter VIII"||Justin Simien||Jack Moore||Gabe||May 4, 2018|
|Gabe interviews Sam for his documentary film, "Am I Racist?" Feelings simmer as the former lovers engage in personal and heated discussion about the fine line between using white privilege to dismantle white supremacy and the self-aggrandizement of the white savior complex. What does their passionate exchange and bad news for Sam entail for their relationship?|
|19||9||"Chapter IX"||Janicza Bravo||Nastaran Dibai & Yvette Lee Bowser||Samantha||May 4, 2018|
|Sam, Joelle and Coco drive to Sam's childhood home in the suburbs for an event that brings the whole family together. Sam confronts her mother, Tina, about withholding information. Mother and daughter reconcile over a letter, while Joelle and Coco reconcile over cosmetics.|
|20||10||"Chapter X"||Justin Simien||Njeri Brown & Justin Simien||none||May 4, 2018|
|As Rikki Carter arrives on campus, Reggie and Joelle finally come to an agreement over their relationship, prompting Sam and Gabe to reach an accord as well. Sam's confrontation with Rikki doesn't go as planned, but thanks to Coco and her most unexpected of allies, neither does Rikki's speech. Lionel and Sam try and join the mysterious Order of X.|
Volume 3 (2019)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Featured character(s)||Original release date|
|21||1||"Chapter I"||Justin Simien||Jack Moore||Al||August 2, 2019|
|22||2||"Chapter II"||Marta Cunningham||Leann Bowen||Joelle||August 2, 2019|
|23||3||"Chapter III"||Kimberly Peirce||Justin Simien||Samantha||August 2, 2019|
|24||4||"Chapter IV"||Justin Tipping||Chuck Hayward||Troy||August 2, 2019|
|25||5||"Chapter V"||Cheryl Dunye||Nastaran Dibai||Coco||August 2, 2019|
|26||6||"Chapter VI"||Steven Tsuchida||Chuck Hayward & Jack Moore||Gabe||August 2, 2019|
|27||7||"Chapter VII"||Tiffany Johnson||Leann Bowen & Steven J. Kung||Lionel||August 2, 2019|
|28||8||"Chapter VIII"||Sam Bailey||Njeri Brown||Brooke||August 2, 2019|
|29||9||"Chapter IX"||Salli Richardson-Whitfield||Njeri Brown & Nastaran Dibai||none||August 2, 2019|
|30||10||"Chapter X"||Justin Simien||Justin Simien||Reggie||August 2, 2019|
Actor Jeremy Tardy announced he would not be returning for the fourth season, citing racism allegations against Lionsgate. Specifically Tardy and fellow actors were presented unequal pay and negotiation powers for their 4th season roles. 
The first two seasons of the series have been released to critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, season one has a "Certified Fresh" 98% approval rating based on 55 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 8.69/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Timely, provocative, and sharply written, Dear White People is an entertaining blend of social commentary and incisive humor." On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 85 out of 100, based on 21 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
On Rotten Tomatoes, season two holds an approval rating of 100% based on 32 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 9.35/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Dear White People's endearing excellence returns, but with an added layer of emotional maturity that enhances the show's powerful, relevant meditations on race relations in America." On Metacritic, the second season has a score of 89 out of 100, based on 7 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
The third season has a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 7.25/10. On Metacritic, the third season has a score of 78 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Debruge, writing for Variety, praised the show's writing, directing, social commentary, and cast. The New York Times praised the show's examination of concerns such as appropriation, assimilation, and conflict.
The initial trailer for the TV show attracted some angry responses, with the series being accused by some Twitter users of being racist towards white people; they called for a boycott of Netflix. The YouTube trailer for the series received more dislikes than likes, with RT observing a 10:1 ratio of dislikes-to-likes as of February 11, 2017. As of August 7 2020, it has received 437,000 dislikes to 53,000 likes. Series creator Justin Simien responded positively to the backlash, saying it reiterated the point of the series, and brought more attention to it as well. Lead actress Logan Browning noted that many of the critics who have given the show rave reviews are white.
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||Breakthrough Series – Long Form||Dear White People||Nominated|||
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|||
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