There is A LOT to gush over the “Dear White People” Netflix series. So I’ll try to condense it into easy-to-read posts.
If you follow me on Instagram, where I (un)officially post what I’m watching, I decided to stick to “Chapter IV” because it was one of my favorite GRLPWR episodes.
The series has two women on their writing staff – Leann Bowen and Njeri Brown. They have two female directors – Nisha Ganatra (I will definitely discuss an episode she directed in another post) and the director of “Chapter IV” Tina Mabry.
*Everything below will probably spoil this episode for you. You’ve been warned!*
1. The writing of this episode is phenomenal. Hell, the writing for the whole series is phenomenal. I love a good character development and dynamic personalities because that’s difficult to write and act. And to do it well.
“Chapter IV” explores this with the two female leads, Sam and Coco. I am so happy they give them a relationship and explore that relationship because it’s not fair to assume that girls will forever be catty with each other for no reason. We’re humans and we have feelings too, damn.
I ugly cried when they essentially broke up because they wrote how the two grew apart so well, I felt like it was personal. That’s some shit I would never wish upon people. SO WHEN TROY EXACERBATED THE PROBLEM I WAS REEEEAL ANGRY. I CANNOT tell you how much a loathe a story line that pits women against each other over a boy. BECAUSE WE DESERVE BETTER STORY LINES AND BETTER CHARACTERS THAN THAT SHIT.
But to show their relationship and how they were always friends who first and foremost looked out for each other’s well-being made my heart leap with joy. I love “girl power” story lines because there’s nothing more needed at this time than women supporting women in our popular culture. And I mean ALL women supporting ALL women (So let me not even start when Ikumi came into the picture and and she spoke some truth and I almost screamed because that didn’t happen in this episode).
Bowen and Brown hit all the complexities of a female relationship on the head and they did it in a positive light, not bringing one woman down for the other. To write that into life on film is nothing short of talent.
2. The direction! Mabry had me feeling some type of way with her visuals. That last sequence when Coco lights the golden J, to the choice of Sam wearing a wig to going natural as a choice for character development – there were levels to how she told this story. I’m not sure that was all her direction alone, it may have been a collaborative effort, but still something to notice and something Mabry chose to highlight in her framing Sam next to Coco.
And then the last sequence!
Too often have we the audience been led to dislike the woman who gets what she wants by doing things her way, so to give Coco a background story she deserved was what I thought the film lacked, but only because I understand time constraints. It’s why this story needed a show; it lent itself to expanding different stories.
To have Coco get what she wants in one powerful scene with the imagery of Troy going down on her and her smoking the peace J at the same damn time, I started applauding. Even with more time, to encompass all of that meaning in that final two-minute sequence AND put Coco in the most positive of lights is not an easy task, I tell ya! But Mabry does it so perfectly well, ugh.
That concludes the spoilers for this episode, but I am not done raving about this show.
The inspiration reeling within me from this episode alone is something I haven’t experienced in a while. I’m only excited for another season.
Catch future posts as I try and iterate why I love so many different aspects of this series!