Justin Simien, director of Dear White People, joins Fresh Air to discuss his new film and what motivated him to make a satire about race relations and racial identity.
Simien on how “white movies” are just “movies”
"[Recently] Hollywood has gotten more myopic and has to make very specific choices based on how they think the audience will respond when putting a movie through the production pipeline. It’s gotten real crazily bad, I think.
I think TV has gotten it right. Shonda Rhimes has figured it out, getting multiracial casts on television and appealing to everybody. It’s interesting because I haven’t seen that with “white movies,” which most people just call “movies.” They don’t just appeal to white people, it’s taken as given that a white cast represents everyone: A white male in a movie is an everyman type character, whereas a black man in a movie is a black character and it’s a black movie and it’s only for black people.”