Leave a Comment
Although it was released just a week ago, Netflix's new dramedy Dear White People has already made tons of headlines. While some take umbrage on the controversial title, the series has already reached a massive audience, and will likely be renewed for a second season on the streaming service. And since the series focuses each episode on one character from the ensemble cast, fans of Dear White People have already begun speculating as to which characters may get their own episode if and when Season 2 is produced. Luckily for us, the show's creator has already shared a few characters who he wants to flesh out in the future.
Filmmaker Justin Simien garnered a ton of attention for the Dear White People movie, which was recently expanded into a TV series. And in a recent interview with THR, Simien revealed three supporting characters that he wants to see more of in Season 2. And on the top of the list is Sam's best friend and Reggie's admirer Joelle. He said,
She's everybody's best friend, and she's just lovable. I actually know Ashley Blaine Featherson, who plays Joelle, and she's an amazingly talented actress who people will for sure want to see more of. Absolutely. Also, Ikumi [Ally Maki] and Rashid, the Kenyan exchange student. I think in season two we'll have more room to play.
Not gonna lie, this makes me want a second season ASAP. These three characters, especially Joelle, were a bit underused in Season 1. But it looks like Justin Simien is ready to amend that with future episodes.
While Joelle was a series regular and starring member of the ensemble, her relevance to the story depended on the episode. She was a trusted confidant and best friend to Sam, often helping her out in the studio while she hosted her "Dear White People" show. Additionally, we saw what a warm and supporting woman she was, accepting Gabe into their group, and attempting to stop the confrontation at the party in episode 5. And while her unrequited feelings for Reggie was compelling, we don't know much about her background.
Justin Simien also listed two tertiary characters in his quote: Rashid the exchange student and Asian student Ikumi. Rashid is a Kenyan exchange student who is another socially conscious member of Winchester. He mostly served as comic relief, adding humorous observations about American culture. Exploring his upbringing in Kenya would definitely be interesting to watch, and provide more context for his contributions with the group.
Ikumi is even more of a side character. She joins the group in expressing outrage over Pastiche's Blackface party, and is usually present during the large ensemble scenes. It would be great to know her better in Season 2, and see how her perspective as an Asian-American relates to the issues of race at the college.