Netflix’s ‘Dear White People’ returns for its final season, adds a twist

by Merecedes J. Williams, For New Pittsburgh Courier

The Black students at Winchester University are back for their senior year in the final season of “Dear White People.” Starring Logan Browning and DeRon Horton, the Netflix series brings the tumultuous life of undergraduate studies at an Ivy League school to an end for Sam White and her friends.

The highlight of Sam White’s studies is her controversial student radio show, “Dear White People,” and her hopes to one day become a film director.

Logan Browning, who plays Sam White, has consistently portrayed a beautifully flawed college student. Her character’s wisdom and wit strokes even the nerdiest egos, while her sass and spunk create the Black Girl Magic we all fell in love with freshman year.

Sam White, who’s typically a pitbull in a skirt, is soft and vulnerable in this season as she meets her match with new student, Iesha Vital (Joi Liaye). The unlikely pair builds friction causing the gang to resolve some unspoken issues and fight to produce an all-Black variety show on a predominantly White campus.

The topics tackled in this season were on point, per usual. The most relevant one is the continuous division amongst Black people. The public divide amongst Black people, especially in an academic or professional setting, is devastating.

As my mom would say, “What happens in this house, stays in this house.” So, when Black folks have a public disagreement, it almost lets White people pick out the weaknesses to capitalize on our dispute. These types of conflicts also take attention away from the true matter, delaying the work in progress.

The claim that some Black people are not Black enough or do not do enough for “the cause” is also a nasty setback to moving the needle forward. The Black student caucus at Winchester University faces all those things as Sam White and Iesha Vital rise as leaders of two different packs.

“Dear White People” comes with a twist.

This last season is a musical. Yes, one big Broadway show.

But, before you rip off your headphones, please give it a chance. “Dear White People” plays a sweet homage to ‘90s music with renditions of songs such as “Round and Round” by Tevin Campbell, “This Is How We Do it” by Montell Jordan, “She’s a B****” by Missy Elliot, and “What About Your Friends” by TLC. 

The series also uses different genres of music to intertwine strong messages about racism, tolerance, acceptance, gun violence, and advocacy.

“Dear White People” is “Higher Learning” (1995) mixed with a little bit “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” (2001). There are serious pro-Black themes, and then every few minutes the cast breaks out into song and dance.

The music is necessary though. Sometimes corny, but what musical isn’t.

The fourth and final season will premiere on Wednesday, September 22, on Netflix.

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