Writer-director Justin Simien wasn’t sure if his 2014 film, Dear White People, would ever hit the screen, but after a conversation with friend Lena Waithe he knew he had to find a way to get it done.
Simien started writing the script for the movie, which was eventually adapted into a Netflix series, in 2005, and was told by Waithe how much she loved the script.
“It is hard to try to get a movie made; I have no idea how to do that, ” he said. “I just clicked into this ‘by hook or by crook’ mindset. I have to get to this movie made, I have to do whatever it takes.”
Simien wanted to see people who shared his experience with Black culture on screen.
“Dear White People is about to always be a reaction to Whiteness. I always felt like I was having to defend Blackness to my Black friends and defend my place in the culture to my White friends,” the award-winning writer and director said. “It grew out of an urge to see myself in the culture. I was looking at the Black content at the time , and I didn’t myself in any of it. As a person who’s always wanted to make movies, I was like, ‘What am I doing if I am not putting my story and my sensibilities out there?'”
The second season of Dear White People is currently streaming on Netflix.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.