It's no secret that Netflix has changed the game in TV production. The streaming service is producing a ton of challenging content, both scripted and unscripted. But Netflix has also begun giving some of its less successful shows the chop, leaving the fate of new shows in jeopardy. One show that managed to survive the first official Netflix purge was Justin Simien's Dear White People, based off the film of the same name. The series will return for a second season on the streaming service, and there's more good news for fans of the students at Winchester University. Season 1 will soon be released for home purchase, and we've got a peak into some of the bonus content. Check out the video below, revolving around how Dear White People focuses on the theme of identity throughout the course of it original season.
In the above clip, you can see how methodically the folks at Dear White People worked out the show's fantastic ensemble cast. While the series may be primarily focused on people of color, the idea of finding one's self is so something that fans of all backgrounds can relate to.
The issue of labels, self-defined or otherwise, is a major theme of Dear White People. After a black face party is thrown on campus, protagonist Sam (Logan Browning) takes to the microphone to speak about the black experience at the fictional ivy league school. She and the other members of Winchester University use their common bond and experience to make their voices known- and gain power by embracing their label as black student leaders.
Sam's boyfriend Gabe is the token white guy of the group, and Dear White People explores the role reversal of Gabe being the minority among Sam and her friends. While trying to be the best ally he can, Gabe endures plenty of jokes at his expense. This is another way that the show explores the identity of race: by portraying a variety of different perspectives.
Identity in Dear White People isn't exclusively related to the characters' race. Lionel goes through the struggles of coming out of the closet throughout the course of the first season, as well as his unrequited feelings toward Troy. In the above clip from the home release, we see as Silvio urges Milo to find his tribe, and his voice. While he's respected by his fellow AP House dorm mates, it's not until he eventually comes to term with his own identity that he becomes a more confident and bold character.
In the past few years, Netflix has proven itself as a home for stories revolving around people of color. Orange is the New Black features an extremely diverse cast, which may have made way for more black-centric series on the streaming service. Since then we've seen shows like Luke Cage, Spike Lee's You've Gotta Have It, _The Get Dow_n, and most recently Seven Seconds largely focus on stories revolving around black and latin characters. Most of them have also been renewed for more seasons, so Netflix isn't going to stop telling inclusive stories anytime soon.
Dear White People Season One arrives on DVD and Digital May 8, and you can also stream the season on Netflix. In the meantime, check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Additionally, check out our superhero premiere list and Amazon premiere list to make sure you don't miss a single episode.
Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.
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