Updated: Jul 7, 2020
Soooo we all know the world is crazy af rn. But despite the global biological warfare, a collapsed economy, and the continued state-sanctioned genocide against black people, it seems after six years of saying "Dear White People..." a number of said individuals are finally starting to listen. So that counts for something, right? 🥴
With such a mass reckoning of companies, brands, and individuals finally acknowledging institutionalized white supremacy, work that addresses these issues are getting more eyes on them than ever before. How To Be Antiracist, White Fragility, and So You Want To Talk About Race are the top three titles on The New York Times Best Sellers list. Films like Just Mercy, Selma, and The Hate U Give are streaming for free as educational efforts in antiracism. And shows by and about black people are seeing major spikes in viewership. Amongst them is Dear White People.
In the wake of international protest and unrest sparked by a video depicting George Floyd being murdered by a white police officer in late May, Dear White People has seen six times as many viewers than the month previous to the worldwide demonstrations and conversations about racism in America and abroad.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Justin talked about the conflict he felt about the ratings boost amidst a time of such turmoil.
"Man, it’s complicated. I have been grateful to fight tooth and nail for Dear White People since 2013 when we first started raising money for the movie. It continues to be a show I have to fight for — for the proper budget, advertising, promotion. It’s a conversation that me and my village of creatives think we really deserve to keep having. We are pouring our whole hearts into these issues to make something that not only is pop culture entertainment but also feels urgent and relevant. These are tragic events that have led to this uptick of viewership, and that’s really devastating. It’s also nice to feel that [we] have contributed something that can be meaningful in this time. These issues have been on our minds and in our hearts for a very long time, and the show we've made speaks directly to what is happening. It's nice to know people are listening.
The show, as the 2014 film before it, has of course addressed these issues from their inception, however, numbers seem to reinforce the idea that people, white people, in particular, are now willing to engage and listen. This is a start, but it is exactly that. So, "Dear White People... welcome to the conversation. The question now is are you in it for the movement or for the moment."