‘Bad Hair’ Director Justin Simien on Queer Acceptance: ‘We Still Have a Ways to Go’

Eli Countryman
·2 min read

Justin Simien, writer and director of television’s “Dear White People” and the recent horror feature “Bad Hair,” spoke about the difficulties experienced by queer students during the Virtual Point Honors Los Angeles Gala on Saturday.

“I’m not that far out from my college years at Chapman University, but I have been around long enough to know that while every year there is progress toward greater acceptance and inclusion, we still have a ways to go,” he said during the virtual event.

The Point Foundation, a scholarship fund for queer students attending university, honored Simien with the Horizon Award, and the director used much of his time to speak on the importance of Point’s mission and acknowledging that disparities in treatment exist even within the LGBTQ community.

“The work I’m best known for, ‘Dear White People,’ came after four years in college and many more working in Hollywood, often being the only Black queer person in room after room after room,” he said. “I know that at times it feels like progress is slow, but it is. I also know that we are on the right path.”

He also gave recognition to the foundation for its creation of a BIPOC LGBTQ scholarship fund to help bridge the gap and further goals of equity and inclusion. “Point Foundation is part of the solution,” he said. “That’s why I am especially proud to be honored.”

“The Boys in the Band” director Joe Mantello, honored with the Legends Award, also dedicated his speech to voicing support for this season’s scholarship honorees and the foundation’s impact.

“The reality that today more young people find an accepting community of support as they pursue their education is a fact that can never, ever be taken for granted,” he said, turning his attention to the students. “You Point scholars are embodying the spirit of a community asserting its worth, and strength and vitality.”

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