Reel Talk: “Dear White People” Netflix Series Is a Must-See

by TV One Staff

May 5, 2017

Don’t be that person missing out on all the water cooler conversation at work because you have yet to binge-watch the latest Netflix craze, Dear White People:

And we know you’re probably thinking: “I saw the movie, it was okay. No need to see the extended version.”

But the truth is, the movie and series, although both created by Justin Simiens with similar story lines, have a completely different execution. After all, the series didn’t get a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes for nothin’, while the movie was rated almost 10% lower.

Here is what we like about the DWP Netflix series:

Writing: It’s funny that the promo for the movie shows a cameo of Issa Rae and has a light mention of Spike Lee because that is exactly how we would separate the two bodies of work. In the film, the writing is a bit more harsh, almost preachy (more Spike Lee), whereas the writing in the series is more witty, and filled with references that most Black people would understand (more Issa Rae). Ex: When someone asks the biracial main character if she identifies as Tracee Ellis Ross biracial or Rashida Jones biracial. Catch the shade?

Character Development:  The series sheds light on several personality types we’ve all encountered before: the “bougie” Black girl, the light-skinned “woke” girl guilty of overcompensation, the shy gay guy, the overachiever, the white ally down for the cause, etc. However, just before you can judge any of these characters with labels their individual episodes allows you to connect with, and understand them.

Casting: Although we adore the lovely Tessa Thompson and  Teyonah Parris (who did the damn thing in Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story), we can’t lie: We prefer the Netflix versions of Samantha White and Coco Conners sooo much more (played by Logan Browning and Antoinette Robertson).

Social Issues: While colorism, racism, sexual identity, racial identity, police brutality, White privilege/guilt, culture appropriation, interracial dating, racial integration, and self-hate are topics covered in both bodies of work, the series allows for a deeper dive and the opportunity to witness more than one topic in a particular episode without feeling overwhelmed by all of them at the same (damn) time. One of the most revealing episodes is directed by Barry Jenkins who won an Oscar for Moonlight.

Sex: There is alooooot of sex in the series, and that alone isn’t even the shocking part. It’s who is having the sex that has us like 😲 .

TELL US: What are your thoughts on “Dear White People?” Do you prefer the movie or the series?

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