The second season of Dear White People opens with an instantly recognizable cultural debate, yet one that has never been dramatized on television. The battle lines are fiercely drawn, the passions intense, and the arguers obstinate in their opinions: Should grits be salty or sweet?
Justin Simien, who created the Netflix comedy and the 2014 race satire it is based on, laughs when we bring up the scene. The debate takes place as the historically all-black residence hall at fictional Winchester University is being integrated with white students displaced by a dorm fire.
“It’s one of those things, like Michael Jackson or R. Kelly or whatever, that black people are always talking very passionately about,” Simien says. “I thought it would be a really slice-of-life moment that I haven’t really seen before but I think every black person can recognize immediately.”
For all the heightened reality of Dear White People, he says, the characters are the draw. “They’re always so hyper-articulate about everything. So I thought it would be really fun to tell this story about these black kids who are sort of ensconced in a kind of white takeover of their safe space and having a very black conversation.”
Dear White People: Vol. 2, which became available to stream Friday (May 4th) on Netflix, arrives auspiciously.
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