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The acclaimed Netflix series Dear White People was renewed for a fourth and final season last October, and it was initially supposed to premiere at some point this year. However, the Hollywood-wide shutdowns in place since March likely prevented any forward movement. So will Dear White People be delayed for a while? Series creator Justin Simien recently weighed in, giving fans an update on the status of Season 4.
Justin Simien confirmed to Deadline that the series will tackle virtue signaling and the “myth of meritocracy,” among other things in Season 4. The creator also revealed that, had studios not shut everything down, Dear White People would have started filming Season 4 already. With most productions at a standstill, Simien revealed the current status of the show’s final season, saying:
Well, the fourth season has been written and unfortunately has been proven, to me and the writers anyway, to be more relevant than it was before we even knew that we were sort of making this show for a post-George Floyd world. We’re just kind of waiting to figure out what is the safest way to shoot the show. I think all of Hollywood is grappling with how do you start production back safely and that still can meet the ambitions of the season? I think we’re grappling with that and maybe we’ll get a chance to shoot it this year. I certainly hope so.
Dear White People Season 3 ended on a sobering note, though a hopeful one, with the students of Winchester University feeling reinvigorated to continue tackling pertinent social justice issues. Fans of Dear White People should expect the show to carry on with its focus on important topics whenever it returns to Netflix.
Still, Justin Simien asks a big question there. While several film and TV productions have either resumed or will resume filming soon, studio execs and creatives are still figuring out how best to go about working while keeping people safe at the same time. Productions employ hundreds of people, so figuring out how to get back to filming without causing any harm has been an uphill battle. I’m hoping that Dear White People’s cast and crew will have an incredibly safe set whenever they do go back to work, and that new protocols don't negatively impact the show's narratives.
That said, Dear White People stands as a testament that a show tackling race, gaslighting, and general social justice topics is still incredibly relevant in 2020. The series was also added to the Black Lives Matter collection on Netflix, and it has reportedly seen an increase in viewership. For three seasons, Samantha and her friends have been at the forefront of conversations that have taken a national stage of late. But, is Justin Simien altering any of the original Season 4 plans in light of recent events? Here’s what Simien had to say:
Not really. I think the thing that we’re going to do now, which we kind of always do before shooting, is touch ups. I think there’s some things that we realize we can actually tune up a little bit and turn up because people are actually ready for it. The thing about Dear White People is we’re trying to tell the truth. We’re always trying to meet people where they’re at in popular culture. What we realized is there’s some things that we can just say. We can just flat out unabashedly say because white fragility is just a little more dirty these days than it was before. People are a little bit more willing to hear it and take it and own up to it. If anything it’s just going to get sharper but it always does. I mean, that’s kind of the best part.
A big part of what makes Dear White People work is its unflinching discussions on race, social justice, abuse and more. It’s handled each of these with honesty that you likely won’t find in most other shows, and the cast and crew have already been doing it for three seasons. I look forward to the important conversations and storylines that Season 4 will surely cover.
The first three seasons of Dear White People are currently available to stream on Netflix. Season 4 does not yet have a premiere date, but stay tuned to CinemaBlend for updates. For more on what to watch in the meantime, be sure to check out our complete list of Netflix premiere dates, as well as our summer TV premiere guide.