Dear White People - Volume 2

2019-08-06 07:30


At a predominantly white Ivy League college, a diverse group of students navigate various forms of racial and other types of discrimination.


The Netflix comedy-drama Dear White People returned with a second season on Friday, 4 May and I binged the entire thing in one weekend. It was an addictive mix of ups and downs that I loved, even more than the first season which got everyone talking. 

The show has really found it’s rhythm in its sophomore year incorporating social critique through pop culture references and solid character development, not only of its main protagonist, Sam White but of her band of contemporaries like Reggie Green, Joelle Brooks, Troy Fairbanks and Lionel Higgins. 

Justin Simien, who created the show and wrote many of the episodes, manages to unpack the lived experience of each one of the characters in the show, revelling in the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, power and privilege. Where the first season introduced us to many of the characters the second season really manages to deep dive into just how the world (inhibited by these varsity students) is at war with itself and unable to find peace in any shape of form. 

Structurally the season uses intertextual references to reality TV, movies and more - not only for the aforementioned social critique – but to ground it. As you can imagine this isn’t an easy undertaking, but I would say that the gut punches and little jabs land about 80 percent of the time and at the very least made me laugh. I related to some of the moments in a big way and found myself saying: “That’s how I felt last week when that woman exhibited her racism and made me feel small, without fear of repercussion.” 

That being said, the series also doesn’t take itself too seriously with Lionel quipping during an episode: “This isn’t a TV show.” Fans will know what the call backs to the previous season and even the movie are and maybe even enjoy them. My favourite moments in the show happened in the last episode and involved the star of the movie (on which the series is based), Tessa Thompson. So, keep an eye out. 

One thing I wish there was less of in the show is the romance/love scenes between characters when it doesn’t move along their development. For instance, all of Lionel’s romantic developments grew the character and showed how he was finding himself, whereas some of the other romance I felt bored by because it was predictable. 

I think all of South Africa should watch this show, especially those with South African flags as their profile pictures or those who enjoy wearing sleeveless puffer jackets with flip flops and jeans or those who find water too spicy so they put cucumber in it. 


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