This ‘Dear White People’ Star Is Unmasking The Black Experience At Predominantly White Universities
In 2014, director Justin Simien got white people all upset when he dropped his debut feature film, Dear White People.
The award winning flick is a racial satire set at the fictional Ivy League Winchester University and depicts the tension between the Black and white students after a blackface party is thrown on campus by a white fraternity.
It seems that Simien isn’t done speaking out, because next month, Dear White People will be premiering as a series on Netflix. (People are seriously talking about boycotting the streaming service because of it.) Diving deeper into the characters this time, we will be reintroduced to Brandon P. Bell’s Troy Fairbanks among others. Bell’s role is not often given the full consideration that it deserves, despite the fact that depictions of Black men in predominantly white institutions aren’t extremely prevalent in film and on television. A product of an affluent upbringing, Troy desperately wants power and recognition but feels that he must hide his “true” self to remain upwardly mobile.
The series also follows Sam White (Tessa Thompson in the film, Logan Browning in the series), a student who takes her white peers and their microaggressions to task on her campus radio show. Lionel Higgins (DeRon Horton, taking the reins from Tyler James Williams who starred in the film), is Troy’s roommate, a freshman newspaper reporter trying to come to terms with his queer identity.
All of the characters are fascinating. However, it is Bell’s Troy, whose insecurities cause him to manipulate those around him that stands out. Desperate for the white privilege that he will never be able to grasp, Troy’s snotty attitude often puts him at odds with his Black peers.
In the series, Brandon P. Bell is taking his character much further than the time constraint of the film allowed. The Texas native is shining new light on a different type of Black man in pursuit of higher education.
Have you seen the film Dear White People? Will you be watching the series when it hits Netflix on April 28th?