How do you make a comedy about contemporary race relations in America, without being reductive or offensive? Hell, don’t ask us, but writer/director Justin Simien seems to have figured it out and then some. His “Dear White People” was a buzz title at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, winning the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, and a new full-length trailer has arrived to present the sharp satire.
The film takes viewers to the campus of Winchester University, where activist Samantha White is elected as head of a traditionally black residence hall. She uses her notoriety as host of the provocative and polarizing radio show “Dear White People” to try to prevent the college from diversifying Armstrong Parker House. Meanwhile, Afro-wearing geek Lionel Higgins is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture, and this and more hijinks converge during the ill-conceived “unleash your inner Negro” Halloween party.
Again, this isn’t the easy kind of thing to pull off, but it looks as though “Dear White People” gets it right. Starring Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Malcolm Barrett, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson and Dennis Haysbert, the film opens on October 17th.