From the moment I saw the concept trailer and then the previews, I was sold on “Dear White People”. When I found out about a VIP screening last week I immediately jumped at the opportunity because 1) I was afraid no theater in Michigan would show it and 2) who doesn’t like free screenings?
Without question, the title is provocative, but that’s how I knew this film would offer something thought-provoking and funny. It is meant to shock and awe, but it seems like people are too stuck on the title, and in the movie itself (ease your mind, the title may be confusing but the main character’s name is Sam White). If the name “Dear White People” makes you feel uncomfortable, go see it. No only does this film offer a plethora of laughs, it is honest and real.
Black people will go see this movie simply because a majority of the cast is black and the director is black. It is a known fact that black folk support black movies, which is why I’ve seen more Tyler Perry/Madea movies than I care to admit. But, I have always been a strong advocate that non-blacks should see movies with a black cast simply because it is a good movie.
I loved this movie because it told a story people often ignore. I remember growing up watching movies like “Higher Learning” , “Rosewood“, “American History X“, I have always been fully aware of black and white disparities. While never experiencing extreme acts of racism, I have had more than my fair share of racism and microaggressions while attending a PWI (predominately white institution). “Dear White People” was very validating in that it highlighted the experience of being a black face in a white place, but it was not solely about race.
The parts I enjoyed most about “Dear White People” were the scenes that showed the character’s real life experience. Race was like background music. It was there and present, but it did not overshadow the scene. The characters struggled with pressure from parents, sexuality, identity, gender expectations, and relationship problems. Everyone can find a character to identify with. Not only were the characters trying to find their way in their school, they were also trying to figure out who they really are, an experience all young adults face no matter their skin color.
After watching the movie two of the stars, Brandon Bell and Marquee Richardson discussed their reason for wanting to be a part of the film and what motivated them. Both attended the University of Southern California and shared experiences similar to their character’s. According to them, this film should be supported because there are not a lot of films in this category, and it shows the humanity of the characters.
Let’s be real, the silver screen has a big issue with displaying Black people in “normal” roles. We are loud, thugs, criminals, bafoons, sassy, or anything but a average person. Black people are often caricatures or side shows, rarely the main attraction. I want non-whites to see this movie because the characters are human. They deal with issues anyone can relate to regardless of skin color. For those that are allies and supporters of the equality of all people, no matter their skin color, support this movie. It is not a racist film against white people. It is meant to inspire new ways of thinking. While watching the movie you may feel uncomfortable, but we learn the best in discomfort.
“Dear White People” hits theaters nationwide October 24th!