Dear White People writer, director, and co-producer Justin Simien talks to ADTV about the inspiration for the Netflix series and the reactions it inspired.
Dear White People‘s Justin Simien joins Clarence at the Water Cooler to discuss his smash hit Netflix series. Premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the film version of Dear White People received immediate acclaim. There, Simien received the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent.
Yet, Simien felt that the deeply personal film would benefit from expansion and continued exploration. Unnamed characters from the film still had stories to tell. Race relation conversations remained in the zeitgeist.
Enter Lionsgate’s television division and, eventually, Netflix.
“I was ready for that conversation. It was one of those moments where preparation met an opportunity, and they really liked the pitch for the show,” Simien explained.
Here at the Water Cooler, Simien talks about what inspired him to write the film originally. He discusses differences between the film and the streaming series it inspired.
He also candidly discusses the shockingly harsh and seemingly organized initial reactions to the series. Still, despite hatred from internet trolls, some of those initial opinions evolved over time.
“What I really think is interesting is I have this contingency of so-called conservatives or so-called alt-right people or so-called Trump voters who were part of this conversation about how awful and racist the show is,” Simien shared, “and now that they’ve seen it, recant and tweet me and say, ‘Wow, this is really not what I expected. Thank you for this. I saw something I didn’t think I’d see.’ ”
Justin Simien explores these topics and more on the latest special edition of theWater Cooler Podcast.
Dear White People Season 1 streams on Netflix.