- Dear White People: the minimum requirement of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count.
Can you believe it's taken me this long to watch Dear White People? Given all the times I haven't shut the fuck up about race (and this is normally where I'd link a bunch of instances, but there are actually too many and I actually want to finish this semi-review), you'd think I'd have watched it sooner.
But I never got around to it! And then another Black dude got shot. And I figured now was as good a time as any.
Dear White People. Right off the bat, the title has got people gettin all defensive. Look at the youtube comments of any trailer for this movie.
Don't actually do that. Ever, really.
Sam White (YUP), our protagonist, or as one White boy says, the girl that would exist if "Spike Lee and Oprah had a pissed off baby", has a radio show that share's its name with the title of the movie. She lives in the Black dormitory of her prestigious, Ivy-league-esque university, and she's sick of the President trying to get rid of said dormitory for the past decade in order to create a more "diverse" university. Because of this, she decides to take a stand, and run for president of her hall. She does so as a sign of rebellion - which is also a sign of her character - but she doesn't think she'll have a chance in hell against the two-time winner, Troy, adored by all (the White people).
And then she wins.
Which leads to an extended debacle throughout the university, leading to a climatic finale that I will not spoil for you dear readers.
So what did I think of Dear White People? The writing is strong and snappy, for one. Quips come out a mile a minute, and I was laughing it up the whole time. One of my favorite scenes involves Sam and her Film Professor:
- Professor: ...Might I also remind you that I read your entire fifteen-page unsolicited treatise on why the Gremlins is actually about suburban white fear of black culture.
Sam: The Gremlins are loud, talk in slang, are addicted to fried chicken and freak out when you get their hair wet.
Or when Sam's campaign team flips out in front of a movie-theater, going on and on about why Tyler Perry is an atrocity for Black Culture.
Moving on: you could be forgiven for thinking that Dear White People is "about" White people, or "about" Black people. But it's not. The movie is really about all of us. How we deal with the cultural aspects that come from White and Minority interaction. Multiple perspectives are presented throughout the film, and each character is strongly portrayed and nuanced in their personalities (yes, even the racist White dude). I could understand each character's perspective, even if I didn't necessarily agree with all of them:
Sam's fierce defense of Black culture, and the necessity to retain it in the midst of a predominantly White society.
Lionel, played by Everybody Hate's Chris' Tyler James Williams, and his intense desire to find his identity:
- "I listen to Mumford and Sons, and I'm gay, I didn't think I was even allowed in here.
"What's worse man? Being too White to be Black, or too Black to be White?"
Coco, who vehemently disagrees with "blaming everything on White folk."
Troy, who tows the line between wanting to fit in, and "shucking and jiving," for the White people, as one other character puts it.
And so on and so forth.
But while the movie's conclusion was intensely satisfying to me, especially considering where I'm at in life right now, the epilogue leaves a bit to be desired. It feels like there's no real resolution to the conflict. Like not much was solved.
And then I realized: you know what? That's probably the point. In the end, Dear White People is about a group of young Black kids trying to figure themselves out, in a world that sure as hell isn't going to hand them their identity on a silver platter. Yeah, it wasn't a 10/10 movie for me...
But fuck, at least I could actually relate to this one.
- Dear White People...
...you know what?
Also: the soundtrack fucking bangs.