Dear White People is set at the fictional campus of Winchester University, where we get to follow four black students on a predominantly white college.
There’s Sam (Tessa Thompson), a radical mixed-race woman with a popular student-radio slot called Dear White People, who is unexpectedly voted student house leader, defeating her ex-boyfriend Troy (Brandon P Bell). Troy then decides to join an all-white humour magazine called Pastiche, who are trying to think up a gimmick for their annual party. That gimmick becomes the ‘unleash your inner negro’ theme, which is pretty much asking for trouble.
Then there’s Lionel (Tyler James Williams), a gay student journalist who feels like he doesn’t fit in anywhere until he gets the chance to join the prestige campus newspaper’s staff. For his first article, he has to spy on Sam and her struggles against the racial integration of the dorms. And last but not least we have Coco (Teyonah Parris), an ambitious economics major who is pursuing stardom by trying to land a role in a reality show.
Writer/director Justin Simien’s movie is a scathing satire of race relations in the age of Obama. At least, that’s how it’s being marketed. Maybe that’s hidden somewhere in this mess of a movie, I’m not sure. I simply have the hardest time getting past the incredibly annoying dialogues, who are so desperately trying to sound smart that some of the actors only just barely seem to get their head wrapped around them. Sure, there are a couple of witty one-liners, but that doesn’t make a good movie.