“The story revolves around four black kids at a mostly white Ivy League college,” director Justin Simien told Amy Goodman in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. That’s the basic premise of Simien’s much-awaited debut comedy “Dear White People,” a film that promises to do much more than just make you laugh.

Drawing on real-life events such as the black face themed parties that periodically pop up on campuses all over the States, and with characters inspired by Angela Davis and Malcolm X as well as various versions of the director’s and stellar ensemble cast’s own struggles with identity, “Dear White People” explores the many facets of race and racism playing out at American colleges today. The title of the satirical movie echoes the name of the radio show run by one of the lead characters, Samantha White, played by Tessa Thompson, in which she “confronts the racist stereotypes and dilemmas faced by students of color.”

As Shine, a website “dedicated to showcasing media created by and for Black women,” puts it, “With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in ‘post-racial’ America while weaving a universal story of forging one’s unique path in the world.”

And at a time when white privilege is as rampantly present as it is denied, Simien’s timing couldn’t be better. Watch the recently released trailer for “Dear White People,” slated to premiere in October, followed by excerpts from “Democracy Now’s” interview with the director and actor Marque Richardson.

For the full interview and transcript, click here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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