Dear White People, season 4, stayed meaningful to the end with a musical wrap up of senior year for several of the main characters. Creator Justin Simien worked with a number of storylines and time jumps with his big ensemble cast of college students.
Dear White People had a lot to say and said it well. I reviewed every season (or volume, as the show calls them) as well as the original movie the series was based on.
The season started a bit slow for me. Things were more compelling toward the end and the final episode was truly outstanding. The beginning of the story was students, especially Troy (Brandon P Bell) working and lobbying to let the Black students at the college be in charge of the yearly Variety Show.
Songs and dances were scattered throughout the episodes, as the students worked to pull off the production.
Sam (Logan Browning) decided to document the making of the variety show as her senior thesis. Gabe (John Patrick Amedori) and Sam were still a thing, although they fought a lot.
Lionel (DeRon Horton) wrote the variety show and eventually Sam began to use him as the human center of the story. Lionel didn’t like the idea much. Lionel and Michael (Wade F. Wilson) were a thing.
Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) was one of the better singers, although just about everyone sang something. Jo was overworked trying to get into med school and taking part in a study about whether prayer could affect recovery in sick patients. But she took a role in the show, too.
Lots of things were happening all at once. Each episode had a future segment with grown and graduated conversations and reunions among the cast. The future segments were a way to tie the story of senior year all together.
Reggie (Marque Richardson) was working on an app like a New Green Book that would alert Black people to safe spaces and warn them if someone dangerous was around – both civilians and cops. Reggie and Jo were still a thing.
An incoming Freshman, Iesha (Joi Liaye), helped Reggie with the app. Iesha was after Sam and her radio show and was leading protests against having Black folks do a variety show in a building named for a former slave owner.
Coco (Antoinette Robertson) was on a reality game show trying to win some big money. Life at the college stopped when the show was on as everyone watched.
All that and more was happening in every episode. As Dear White People has always done so well, the final season continued to point out systemic racism and unfair treatment brought on by systemic racism. There were also personal stories about relationships, speaking up, parents, career goals and aspirations.
I thought the way the story wrapped up in the last couple of episodes was particularly good and made for a satisfying but bittersweet ending to the tale. Kudos to Justin Simien for everything about this series from beginning to end.
There were a couple of women directors in season 4: Samantha Bailey and Tiffany Johnson.
Have a look at the trailer.
I hope you are a fan of everything connected to this series, because it’s excellent. If you’ve never seen any of it, everything is on Netflix. Give it a look. Here’s a YouTube rewind of seasons 1-3.