“Dear white people,” Samantha White (Tessa Thompson) begins her college radio broadcast. “The minimum requirement of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Sorry, but your weed man, Tyrone, does not count.”
After taking the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at Sundance, first-time feature writer and director Justin Simien’s college race relations comedy is preparing to hit theaters with just as much verve as Samantha’s radio show. Dear White People’s trailer includes some of Samantha’s best zingers (“dating a black person to piss off your parents is a form of racism”) and also introduces the key players on Winchester University’s predominantly white campus.
The plot: Samantha is elected head of a traditionally black residence hall, dethroning Troy Fairbanks (Brandon P. Bell). Dennis Haysbert, back in a 24-like position of power as the university’s dean, tries to temper Samantha’s activism. Meanwhile, the afro-sporting geek Lionel Higgins (Tyler James Williams) is recruited by the otherwise all-white student newspaper to go undercover and write about black culture. Oh, and the more-assimilated Coco Conners (Teyonah Parris) is planning to use this whole controversy to launch a career in reality TV.
Built from a single concept trailer, Dear White People promises to deliver its fair share of biting wit when it arrives in theaters October 17.