- “Dear White People” season four differs from previous seasons because it is a ’90s themed musical.
- The series’ creator, Justin Simien, told Insider that he always “wanted to make a big ol’ musical.”
- He added that the musical element was also a “perfect” metaphor for key themes in the show.
The writer, creator and director of “Dear White People” Justin Simien explained in a junket interview with Insider that he made the final season of the show a musical because it was the “perfect metaphor” for what the show is talking about.
series, based on the Sundance Film Festival award-winning movie made by Simien of the same name, follows the lives of Black students of a supposedly “post-racial” university called Winchester. The series is comedic and surreal but raises many conversations about race and racism in America.
After two years since the last season, the fourth and final season of “Dear White People” is arriving on Netflix. However, the teaser released in August surprised fans because it announced that the whole season would be a musical. Characters in the show have not really burst out into song before this.
“We’ve been wanting to do this musical episode from the beginning because the show always breaks into the surreality of someone’s imagination,” Simien said in an interview with Insider. “Breaking out into song at this point, four seasons in, is not the strangest thing that has happened in the show.”
The “Dear White People” creator continued: “I’m a musical snob, so is Jaclyn [Moore, showrunner]. The first thing that a musical snob believes about a musical is there’s gotta be a really integrated reason for the characters to be singing. I just couldn’t come up with something that only made sense for an episode. And also I just wanted to make a big ol’ musical and I needed to lean into something that I passionately wanted to do for this final season and it felt appropriate.”
Simien explained that the musical element was also a metaphor for multiple elements of the show.
“It felt like the perfect way to distil the metaphor of having to put on a show as a person of color, of having to sort of tap dance for people, of finding a way to express what’s really inside,” He said. “I mean all these things that were so typical of musicals were also typical of my Black experience at least and the way I wanted to portray their journey this season. So that’s really where it started from and the more we talked about it, the more it made sense.”
Logan Browning, who plays one of the lead characters Sam White, told Insider that she was “100% a fan” of the musical idea.
She said: “I loved the fact that we got to do a musical season. I’ve always loved musicals. When I was in high school as a kid, I did lots of musical revues with my chorus and I was very serious about auditioning to get the parts that I wanted and I always got the parts I wanted. So this was really fun to already be a part of a series and not have to really audition.”
Browning recently told Variety, whilst attending the “Cinderella” premiere that she wants to perform musicals on Broadway.
“I want to make EGOT status,” she said. “I don’t have the E, the G, the O, but I’d love to get the T.”
—Variety (@Variety) August 31, 2021