Illustration by Clara Hollowgrass
Dear White People was first created because of a man named Justin Simien. Simien came up with the concept of Dear White People – first as a movie, then as a TV show on Netflix – as one way to show the stories of people who otherwise haven’t been on TV, or who haven’t been portrayed on TV the way he saw them in real life.
Dear White People focuses on several diverse students at the fictional Winchester University. Each chapter features one character and his or her take on the day’s events, bringing the viewer into a perspective that otherwise might not appear on television. Whether dealing with real-life issues of parents, awkward interactions between exes, or even accidental pregnancy, Volume 2 continues many of the show’s storylines from Volume One while allowing new stories to flourish as well.
What makes Dear White People stand out is its unapologetic approach to showing all of these issues on screen, and showing different perspectives than what might be seen on mainstream network television.
The premiere episode of Volume 2 continues almost right where the last volume’s finale left off. It takes on the aftermath of last volume’s finale through the eyes of Samantha White, one of the show’s core characters. Dear White People shines brightly in every episode it presents, twisting and weaving the fabric of life that it created in the first volume and extending it to Volume 2. The topics are real, and life isn’t always cotton candy, which Dear White People shows boldly through events that mirror real life events.
One of the more timely storylines in Volume 2 deals with the character Reggie facing police brutality. In this chapter, Reggie takes control of his story and shows the world that they don’t get to decide who he is. From Reggie’s perspective, the audience gets a glimpse into how he is doing after the event, and how someone can try to move on after something horrible happens. “You cannot let those few seconds become your whole life,” Dean Fairbanks tells him, “you gotta find a way to let this out.” With this, Reggie finds his own way to deal with his trauma and move on throughout the rest of the volume.
All the leading characters in Dear White People come into focus at some point during Volume 2, with most of them getting to tell their stories in a particular chapter. Some characters that weren’t as developed in the first volume get more layers and personality, while main characters become even more relatable as stories continue to build.
Dear White People can be enjoyed by all, whether it be for people who seldom see someone like themselves represented on screen or those who need to expand their point of view beyond of their own limited perspectives. Dear White People is expertly written, making every chapter engaging, leads fans like me waiting patiently for a third volume.