The moment that fans we've all been waiting for has finally arrived: the final season of Dear White People is out AP crew is going out on a high note, literally.
Dear White People Vol. 4 is an Afro-futuristic, 90s-inspired musical event that is sure to have fans singing along and updating those nostalgic playlists. As the characters reflect on one of the most important years of their lives, they take viewers on a journey that is proof that in order to take things to the next level, it’s a must to address and accept the past.
Ahead of the pitch-perfect premiere, S&A caught up with the cast and crew for more on growth, vital life, lessons learned throughout the journey of the series, and a tease to what fans can expect as they close out the final season to a show that took the world by storm back in 2017.
Here are some things we spoke to them about:
What do you hope fans walk away with after this final season?
Justin Simien (creator): "Well, first of all, it’s so surreal to be here, because Shadow and Act was really at the beginning of our story. You [guys] were the first people to say anything about the concept trailer for the original Dear White People and I just want to shout y'all out for that.
I think my takeaway is that it always comes down to the humanity of the characters, even characters at a time such as this, where being Black and queer or Black and female or Black and male, or all the intersections that our characters are, is so politically charged. We all are so representative of so many experiences and at the end of the day, we are trying to have what every human being wants, which is space to be themselves."
What sets the show's approach to the pandemic apart from the way other shows have done?
Jaclyn Moore (co-showrunner): "Part of the problem that we ran into was that our show somewhat exists in our reality. We’ve acknowledged Trump’s existence [in the past] and I don’t believe we ever mentioned his name. If we continued with that, our characters’ senior year would have taken place in a year where they would not be on campus and fully remote so we thought that wouldn’t be a good way to end the series. We ended up on this plan to see a lot of things from a future perspective. We see a future where when pandemics happen, the masks that we wear are fashion statements and boy did Ceci, our costume designer, do her thing with the masks. There’s a depressing angle to that of course now that we’re living through the Delta variant, but I chose to see that as hopeful. That even as these things continue, people will continue to live and thrive and be happy and see each other. That was our goal."
What has been the most memorable part of this journey?
Antoinette Robertson (Coco): "This entire experience has been a blessing. This is my first series and for this to have gone on for four seasons, creating really impactful art is truly a blessing. To be afforded the opportunity to do what you love is a luxury that not many people get, but to be able to do that with the people I adore, that inspire me, that I am completely obsessed with, was just the cherry on top."
What has this journey taught you?
Ashley Blaine Featherson-Jenkins (Joelle): "This journey has taught me patience, grace, camaraderie and family. I think we’ve all gone through so much in the past five years and we’re all better humans because of it. I think we’re all leaving the show better than we were when we entered it."
Marque Richardson (Reggie): "It’s taught me honesty, it’s taught me artistry. It’s taught me activism in a way that I didn’t know was accessible to me before. It’s taught me confidence, and it’s taught me that I can do a lot of things, that I can do many things...anything that I set my mind to."
How does Sam begin to see the fruits of her labor come to life in this season?
Logan Browning (Samantha): "I think that’s a trick question because the fruits of her labor are like the poisonous fruit in the Garden of Eden [laughs]. I think Sam gets to see the bigger picture and that she needs to embrace this and let the legacy that is, show up in a younger activist."
What’s something you want viewers to learn from Sam and Gabe's relationship?
John Patrick Amedori (Gabe): "Particularly in season four [this is] a moment for them to really think about who they are, who and what they want to be, and what they want for themselves and I think that’s a road that people cross whether you’re in a relationship or not in a relationship. I just hope that people see that and it puts things into perspective and helps people want to communicate with their significant other, whoever it is or whatever they’re going through, and know that you don’t have to know all of the answers, but that love can still be there."
The series is going out as a musical How does this embody the fact that music lives in the DNA of Black people?
Brandon Bell (Troy): "I think that my character truly believes that [music is within our DNA] and so he’s trying to persuade everyone to get on board with this historically Black-led talent show in this final season. So without giving too much away, as musicals go, there’s a lot of spontaneous singing and that’s infectious which is cool because before you know it everyone gets on board with his vision."
What decade would you say has the best music?
DeRon Horton (Lionel): "It would probably be the 90s, to be honest. I like a lot of music, I’m not gonna lie. I listen to stuff from Nat King Cole to Ella Fitzgerald to The Friends Of Distinction, but I have a lot of memorable songs from the 90s."
Say goodbye to Winchester University’s finest in the final season of Dear White People, now streaming on Netflix.
Watch the interviews below: