Following last weeks Netflix trailer release for it’s new series ‘Dear White People’,  the TV show which is adapted from the film of the same name has the streaming site’s subscribers have been up in arms.

These Netflixer’s are in no mood to chill that’s for sure, even going as far as cancelling their subscriptions with accusations that the comedy series is racist.


The TV series is an adaptation of the film of the same name released in 2014. The writer of of both the series and the film, Justin Simien was forced to write an essay explaining the title. Although the film was met with positive reviews at 2014’s Sundance Film Festival, the title still caused a stir and received critical responses.


“I have a problem with your title, like…why do you feel the need to tell black stories for white audiences and not for your own community?” A young black man in the front row wanted to know, his arms folded, as if he’d come to ask that question and promptly leave before my film had even started. He was flanked by a woman whose sour face suggested she wanted to know as well.

About an hour earlier, en route to this interrogation I spent the car ride over scrolling through twitter, pausing momentarily at mentions from users I’d never met and whose faces were absent from their avatars. Being called a nigger and a race baiter by strangers on twitter was still infrequent at this point, but frankly it’s the kind of thing where once is more than enough. “You DO realize your last name means MONKEY right??”

Still stung. Even after the half a dozen times I’d read similar tweets and variations thereof.

“Jesus I’m getting it from all sides today,” I thought as I stumbled to explain to the young man, his arms refusing to unfurl, that the film’s title derived from a controversial radio show at the center of the conflicting points of views in the film. He responded with a shrug and a whisper into the ear of his companion, her eyes already in the back of her head. I pretended I hadn’t noticed as another hand flew up and a thought began to flicker itself into a nice groove in my brain.

”Should I really have called the movie ‘Dear White People?’” the thought went. This is 2014, about a month before my debut film would be released in theaters.


Read the rest of the essay here.




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