At the beginning of the film we find ourselves at a fictional Ivy League place of higher learning, the prestigious sounding Winchester University. Here we find several interesting black students trying to find their role within the system. These include the geeky looking, huge Afro wearing Lionel, who happens to be gay and a Mumford & Sons fan, played with great deadpan flavour by Tyler James Williams (better known as playing Chris in the Chris Rock TV comedy 'Everybody Hates Chris'). Then there is the mixed race, militant, fiery Samantha (Tessa Thompson) who leads the charge for her black brothers and sisters, yet has her own personal identity issues. Dark skinned Coco (Teyonah Parris) refuses to be labelled as ''yet another sista from the 'hood' and tries desparately to hide the fact she is from the South side of Chicago. Troy (Brandon P Bell) sees himself as the 'smooth, cool dude' whose success is pretty much a done deal, especially with his father (TV '24''s Dennis Haysbert) is the Dean at Winchester. However, even he feels as if he has a 'role' to play in order to get ahead.
'Dear White People' is released in the US on 17th October (select cities) and 24th October (nationwide). After the huge popularity of recent screenings at The London Film Festival (this was where I caught it with a multi-racial audience who seem to be thoroughly enjoying it), hopefully it will receive a proper release in the UK very soon.
Here is a 15 minute interview with director Justin Simien and actress Tessa Thompson (Samantha) with DJ Sway: