I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of angry women in pop culture.
Thus it’s refreshing to see rising star Tessa Thompson take center stage in writer-director Justin Simien’s Sundance hit Dear White People, an exploration of the black-white racial issues of the Obama era through the lens of a fictional Ivy called Winchester University.
Thompson plays Samantha White, a righteous (or is that self-righteous?) dropper of truth-bombs at her college radio station who decides to run for president of the Black Student Union against the kind of “respectable” black man favored by the university administration. “It’s like Spike Lee and Oprah had sort of a pissed-off baby,” says a white student in describing Sam, who’s right about lots of things — no one has the right to go up and touch black people’s hair — but also draws criticism from her fellow black students for being a “bougie, Lisa Bonet-wannabe” who’s spewing “blacker-than-thou propaganda.”
The ensemble of very diverse black characters — in addition to Sam, there’s also the all-American jock, the hipster nerd, and the beauty queen — offers a great foundation through which to explore African-American identity today.
Dear White People will be released October 17.