How is Netflix’s Dear White People different from the movie? Justin Simien, the film’s writer/director who also created the show premiering April 28, answers that question best in the preview clip above: “The movie was sort of written in a time where, honestly, most people, liberal people, conservative people, kinda thought racism was done,” Simien says. “And the show is coming out in a very different environment, where a lot of people are aware that race is still quite a prevalent issue in our country.”
The 10-episode Netflix series, in which each installment is told from a different character’s point of view, stars Hit the Floor’s Logan Browning as Samantha White, the student whose radio show and activism is at the center of both the 2014 movie (where the character was played by Tessa Thompson) and the series’ satirical exploration of race and identity on a prestigious college campus.
Empire and Hand of God’s Nia Long also stars as an African-American studies professor at Winchester University, while Better Call Saul‘s Giancarlo Esposito is the series’ narrator.
“One of the things that was really important to me was that, if you’ve seen the movie, I wanted you to feel like you could just slip right into the show,” Simien says. “But if you haven’t seen the movie, I don’t want you to feel like you’ve missed anything. So, we do a bit of a reset, but we also just kind of keep the narrative moving forward.”
Dear White People premieres April 28 on Netflix.