It’s junior year for the Winchester crew and like most college students, junior year presents new identities. Joelle Brooks (Ashley Blaine Featherson) takes on two new titles in season three: one being the new host of the school radio talk show Dear White People, and the other as Reggie’s lady. DWP is still centered around black capitalism and black culture, but this season focuses on how the characters have grown immensely, and almost become unrecognizable like a game of Mafia. Nevertheless, season three is nothing more than the same title, new spin.
Here are 6 things highlighted this season…
New faces: this season introduced us to a few new characters. Amongst them all, two stand out most. Professor Moses Brown, (Blair Underwood) who’s a former student of Winchester and beacon who returned from Silicon Valley, and enlists students on campus to assist with developing his app. Then we have D’unte, (Griffin Matthews) a charismatic, colorful, confident, and unapologetically individual in tune with his sexuality. He doesn’t only raise awareness, but eyebrows too.
LGBTQ Representation: If there’s one thing this season wasn’t shy about was sexuality! It’s at the forefront of every episode. From the slew of characters who represented all walks of the LGBTQ community, to Brooke taking a splash in the lady pond, to there being an openly gay and HIV positive student on campus. There were liberating levels of exploration, education, and representation within sexuality.
Self-Acceptance: Season three highlighted how black people often have conformed to our surroundings to be accepted and not rejected. As showcased with Colandrea “CoCo” Conners (Antoinette Robertson), who we know to be confident, fearless, and polished. We get to see her shame this season. The visit from her mother not only revealed just how much of an imposter she is, but how deep code-switching really is. Blacks are groomed to behave in a manner of likeness in order to be seen equal, respected, and accepted. CoCo’s situation forces us to look within and ask ourselves: do we even know who we are anymore?
Grief: Reggie (Marque Richardson) is dealing with residual traumatic pain. Kelsey (Nia Jervier) tries to cope with her parents having another child, and CoCo is placing amounts of pressure on herself. However, it’s Sam (Logan Browning) who seems to be in the most pain. Last season we watched her lose her father, and this season exhibits the way in which one might cope. The loss of her father has caused blockage in her work, and is causing her to struggle with taking a break from the movement. Her only refuge is a one-sided text conversation to her dead father, which seems to be working in her favor until a reply informs her that the phone company gave his number away.
#MeToo: No need to pretend as if the MeToo Movement hasn’t affected college campuses. When a sexual assault hits Winchester we begin to see how everyone’s opinion can divide the student body. The hardest part of sexual assault is not believing it took place, but believing someone beloved is being accused of the heinous act. We quickly saw how position and power can silence equally positioned and powerful women with sexual assault.
Fallen Heroes: Season three’s undercurrent storyline was centered around hero worship. It explores how one is to cope with finding out their hero is not just human, but flawed. How does one heal when forced to remove their “black messiah” from the pedal stool they placed them on? The storyline directly speaks to present-day culture in relation to black people having to face the falling of Michael Jackson (Leaving Neverland,) R. Kelly (Surviving R. Kelly,) Bill Cosby’s multiple sexual assault allegations, and Kanye West aligning himself with Trump. The storyline forces us to see beyond our hero worship and blind spots due to our love, admiration, and personal connection to the hero whose fallen.
Season three of Dear White People not only spoke to the struggle of living in prison to our personalities, but the segregation between African-Americans and Africans. The show poked fun at Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The Handmaids Tales this go around, but in the midst defended Tyler Perry (Jerry Skyler.) Creator Justin Simien had more than an agenda to explore controversial subject matter this season. He used his platform to right some wrongs and clearly indicate how he feels about Spike Lee with the jabbing line from a student stating, “I mentally deleted all my Spike Lee references when he started shit-talking young black directors.” With that and the usage of the phrase like a “third season of a Netflix show,” which serves as double entendre diss against Spike (who’s Netflix series was cancelled after season two.) In a nutshell, junior year at Winchester was all about the new paths taken in life.