Justin Simien’s 2014 film, which explored racial tensions on the campus of a fictional Ivy League school, is being turned into a TV series. The film balanced comedy and drama, satirizing post-racial politics, identity, and privilege with standout performances from Tessa Thompson (Creed) and Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris). It’s not yet clear if any of the original cast will return for the 10-episode series, but it will take place at a fictional Ivy League college, and Simien will direct the series and write the first episode.
In a statement, the director implied that the series is an extension of conversations he had with college students:
During the film’s release, I had the pleasure to speak with hundreds of students and faculty across a variety of college campuses dealing with these very issues in real time. I’m so grateful to have this platform—not only to give a voice to those too often unheard in our culture, but to also tell great stories from new points of views.
In 2012, Simien posted a concept trailer for Dear White People on Vimeo, to attract investors for the movie. He called it a “satire about being a black face in a white place” and invoked the “black art house” of Do the Right Thing and Boyz n the Hood. It later became a Sundance hit. Before that, it was a Twitter account started by Simien to explore the black experience.
The series is set to debut in 2017.