Photo from the 'Dear White People' trailer.
Photo from the 'Dear White People' trailer.

Justin Simien, an aspiring filmmaker may soon find success in Hollywood by capturing his experiences as a young black person trying to make it in the film business. After a co-worker Simien had worked with for several years mistook him for the “other” black guy in the office Simien took to Twitter as @DearWhitePeople two years ago.

Simien had already begun working on a script of satirical stories based on his experiences in college. It turned out that @DearWhitePeople would give him another avenue to explore and share his experiences with other young, ambitious black professionals who often find themselves in similar situations when circumstances cause race and their professional pursuits to collide. The Huffington Post reports:

Perhaps it was being mistaken for the one other Black guy in my office by a colleague who had worked with him for years… Or perhaps it was being asked repeatedly by co-workers to teach them the Single Ladies Dance? Either way something provoked me to go on Twitter as @DearWhitePeople two years ago and start tweeting things like:

“Dear White People. The single ladies dance is dead. Please turn off your web cams and go on about your lives.”

Meant to articulate the sometimes funny, mostly harmless, but occasionally painful experience of being a Black face in a vastly white place (i.e. most Hollywood work environments) @DearWhitePeople also served an ulterior motive of mine.

I’d been working for some time on a satire about race identity. The feature script for Dear White People follows the events leading up to a race riot a prestigious predominately white university through the perspectives of four very different Black students. While the script was culled from my
own college experiences and those of others I knew, I wanted to test out the voice of my lead character, Sam White, whose radio show “Dear White People” gives the film its title.

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