Why The Second Season of “Dear White People” Is Definitely Not For White People
There’s no doubt that Netflix’s — Dear White People — is currently one of the most relevant shows on television — which is no surprise when you figure that the themes of racial injustice and emotional dislocation are totally in compliance with this presently ratchet climate.
When the trailer for the first season launched in early 2017— White folks lost their shit over the observation that if there was a show called — Dear Black People — making its highly-anticipated debut — it would be considered a racially-motivated attack on Black people — and most likely wouldn’t have made it past the pitching phase.
But — that’s why the show’s creator — Justin Simien — who is the whiz behind the 2014 hit movie of the same title — seamlessly applies the same principles that bolstered the authenticity of the big screen characters — to the TV versions — in ways that deeply resonate.
As the media assaults us with headlines about the latest trend of White people asking the assistance of the police — when it comes to removing Black people from the spaces that they rightfully occupy — it’s hard not to become mentally hampered by the outright inconsideration — in motion.
It’s as if Black people are immune to the trigger-worthy content because of the historically-embedded fibers of racism that still retain activation. And so there’s no attention paid to the emotional toll these relentlessly delivered images and videos are bound to wreck on human beings — who are besieged with hourly reminders of their worthlessness.
The second season of Dear White People — is a deeper dive into the complexities of the characters that we’ve invested in — as we get a full view of the manifestation of their individualistic endeavors — that aptly exposes the motivation to define themselves in an environment that threatens their freedom.
The main players in season two are progressively try to navigate trials and tribulations of being college students dealing with extraordinary circumstances. The unsettling atmosphere of dwelling in an Ivy League campus with predominately White students — that are blissfully clueless about the challenging disposition of their counterparts — is exactly what makes the series comfortingly within reach — for viewers of color.
Reggie (Marque Richardson) may have survived his harrowing encounter with campus police — but the repercussions are harshly visible through anger tantrums and the restlessness that never eases up — without the healing of professional care. It’s hard to escape the fact that Reggie is a tragic victim of the disease of “living while Black” — and while the active hashtag is used to illustrate the trauma of what that evokes — watching a young Black man cope with the crux of his ongoing activism is heartbreaking.
Coco (Antoinette Robinson and Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) — have storylines that expand into enlightening territory as we’re able to appreciate the dilemma Coco finds herself in — and hold our breath as she makes her way out if it seemingly unscathed — although we know better.
Joelle is the breath of fresh air — who doesn’t hold back the vulnerability of a highly-intelligent Black woman with dark skin — who has to compete for the attention that her lighter-skinned partner-in-crime is able to amass with little effort. Through flashbacks — we also get substantial clues about the genesis behind her enviable vibrancy.
She’s the star attraction because she absolutely peaked this season — in more ways that one. Again — we get more background into who she is and why she’s better off that way. Her dating mishaps are hilariously adventurous — but it’s the quiet dignity of how she unapologetically refuses to calm down — in order to exaggerate her softer side — which she never compromises.
Lionel (DeRon Horton) is as fulfilling as ever — as the adorably shy and eager-minded gay journalist — who is on a mission to expose the dark secrets — lodged in the illustrious walls of Winchester University. And while he’s on that quest of unfolding the burning mystery that could overpower the status quo — his love life is pleasantly opening up those clogged pores.
The reason why this season of Dear White People — is architected for Black people (like me)— lies mostly with Sam (Logan Browning) and Troy (Brandon P. Bell) — mainly because of the depth of issues that plague both characters — that seem to correlate with my own personal strife — both past and present.
Sam has a lot to contend with as she juggles her duties as the outspoken radio host who won’t be defeated by the cruel harassment of a racist troll — as well as unexpected personal loss that forces her to ramp up her efforts — as she teams up with Lionel on the secret mission that sets up the stunning season finale.
But — it’s Sam’s wordplay with a newly-minted nemesis — played superbly by guest star — Tessa Thompson — who originated the role embodied by Browning — that truly hits home when I search my catalog of hits — that have all been editorially-inclined towards the issue of race — as it pertains to those of us who can’t escape the monstrosity of an all-consuming virus.
The well-polished and ultra-conservative Rikki Carter (imagine Kanye’s new bestie —Candace Owens) is spewing out the kind of venom that interestingly enough almost always seems to be dished out by light-skinned Blacks — who wield their privilege with off-putting distinction. Her soaring popularity naturally affords her the spotlight — as she eloquently utilizes her platform for fame at the expense of her soul.
Her scheduled on campus visit is met with sheer disdain by Sam who ambushes Rikki backstage right before she faces the crowd of expressionless Black faces — that can’t wait to silently diminish her value.
The scene involving two ambitiously fascinating women with an aesthetic that alludes to the racial makeup they both share — is nothing short of epic — as we witness the similarities and stark differences — that culminate in the assessment of Rikki’s eerie promise to Sam — about how her burgeoning activism will eventually lead her down the very path she’s trying in vain to steer clear of.
This is where my feelings come alive as I contemplate this era of racially driven “everything” — and how that plays into the narrative of writers gaining momentum through jarring essays that provide the level of exposure that catapults us into low-level stardom.
Then you have idolized activists with gazillion followers — and invitations to the national stage — that signals the imminent rise in status — that becomes an on demand function — satisfying all parties involved. Cable networks populate news shows with the representation of how being wrongfully arrested or mutilated as a Black person is an issue best described by experts with the appropriate skin hue.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to photo shoots and the branding experience that blurs the line between passionately fighting against the injustice of it all — or doing just that with the incentive of personal gain.
At some point you suffer the personal turmoil that pummeled Troy throughout the season — as he pushes himself to re-discover who he is without the definition of the “dean’s son” or the disturbing assignment of being the Black guy who doesn’t know how to be flawlessly “Black.”
The second season of Dear White People— contains volumes of gems that were meant for the consumption of Black people without interference from White people.
Some of the scenes that are meant to be light-hearted — end up being hard to take — as we watch the celebrated cluelessness of White students as they express annoyance with loud speakers — providing daily dosage of “wokeness” that translate as noisy static.
When I dredge up the experience of attending a remote two-year girls college where I was one of three African students on campus — I can’t help but marvel at how far I’ve come.
That girl from Nigeria wasn’t equipped to decipher the falseness of her reception from the mob of White girls who were drawn to the Black foreigner — who was refreshingly not the kind of “Black” that they typically avoid like the plague.
My short stint at that mostly White institution was the early education into race relations — and revealed how the great divide will remain divided — for as long as White people continue to protect their privilege at all cost — and with the audacity of their stubbornness when it comes to not giving a shit about the happenings around them.
It took me a long ass time to be Black.
It finally occurred through societal immersion and the study of how a Nigerian-American can be American enough to know that her impressionable years spent in her homeland — will not come in handy when a White cop badgers her for information — that will not save her from being brutally assaulted.
It’s a meaty affair! And there’s more than enough to go round — with plenty left over for another season — that will undoubtedly feature a spicier dish that will only excite certain palettes — sporting the right level of tolerance.
Let’s keep our appetite primed for season three!