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Q&A with the Cast of the Original Netflix Series “Dear White People”

Dear White People, the film (and now the Netflix series) have both been very controversial for shedding light on ways racism manifests in subtle ways. The storyline shows that even in modern times, racism describes a system of disadvantage based on race. Like the movie, the tv series takes place at a fictional predominantly white ivy league school, Winchester. While on campus it introduces the black collegiates rooming in the Armstrong Parker dorms. Dear White People gives off a nostalgic 90’s vibe, that reminds you of classics such as A Different World and Higher Learning. The dialogue, framing and overall vibe is fun, dramatic, and hilarious while effectively conveying meaningful messages to the audience.

I had the pleasure with speaking with cast members Brandon B Bell (Troy), Justin Simien (Director), Ashley Blaine Featherson (Joelle) and Antoinette Robertson (Coco) on the controversy surrounding the show and what we can expect during the upcoming series. We had a chance to discuss their roles, get up close and personal, and vibe with the cast.

How were you to able to naturally project yourself into your role/ character and connect with them?

Justin-Just as a writer, trying to tell the truth and be as honest as I would be. I mean listen, It was a hyper reality, it was a satire. It was trying to be as real as I could be with these issues and try to get the dirt under the fingernails. In every episode, these characters are dealing with things that honestly they rather keep private. If the camera was on them, they wouldn’t want you to see it. (Lol)

Ashley– That’s so true.

Justin– It was definitely a goal of how we can tell story that people can feel, think, and talk about in private, but have never quite seen in a show before.

Brandon– I think for me, I went to a predominantly white school. So Troy are not to far off as far as term similarities I have. As an artist, being apart of rich storytelling, complex characters, that’s the crème de la crème…you know what I mean? That fit with my experience. If not my exact experience, it’s definitely not too far off. I think for me as a black actor, the diversities of our experiences presented on screen are rare. The opportunity to present something I haven’t really seen before, it just made so much sense and it was just so familiar in so many way.. all of the characters. I see myself, there is little bits of me  in each character. Troy being a black man, at a predominantly white school having just expectations, It felt like revisiting different parts of myself. It was easy in that sense and fun and exciting to be apart of something I haven’t really seen too much before since like a Different world.

Antionette– There is also so much heart and these characters are so layered and multi dimensional, that it’s so real…that there is no way we couldn’t do it justice. We want people to identify with them, but the most important thing was we were having these moments…We were really having these moments! These relationships are cultivated in such a way that you identify with someone and it resonates with you..so I feel that it was easy! This gentleman (Justin) and Our group of writers, they are so good and it’s so well cast. We just gelled together in a way, that it felt so real in every moment..that when you feel it that there are going to be moments when you’re going to be like aww or omg I would it! You’re going to have this real experience, I can’t wait for you guys to see all of it.

Brandon– Everyone knows a Troy, you know a Coco, you know a Sam, you know a Lionel…for sure.

Antionette– you know one.. (everyone laughs)

Ashley– Definitely..Definitely do.

Now you talk about the controversy, like far as the name, What would have been the second alternate name, instead of  Dear White People?

Justin: The first title was 2 Percent. It was called 2 Percent because is about the population of black kids at the white college. I felt that it was too sleepy of a title to be honest and Sam in the movie had this radio show called dear white people. I started this twitter account to test out her jokes and I was just was like, I think I this is the title. People are going to respond to it and it’s going to be a knee jerk reaction for some people, but they’re going to be talking. Like when the so called controversy and quote on quote boycott happened, which wasn’t real either…over the teaser announcement. The truth is more people knew about that show because of the quote on quote controversy than they would of the title 2 percent because it’s a little sleeper there. From the minute you hear that title, you have an emotional response. Even if that emotional response is; I’m not watching this, that’s all part of what the show is about and trying to say. Alot of people who love us go the YouTube comment and are like… ok I already knew this show need to exist, but now I know it really needs to exist. It works on another level in a way that I think it’s worth whatever controversy comes from it. I stand by that title.

Whole cast– That it does..it really does!

It works on another level in a way that I think it’s worth whatever controversy comes from it. I stand by that title.

Me:-Love it, Love it.

So I have one more question for you guys..so just like with the black face that happened in the show, is there anything else like far as any big controversial, traumatizing things that may happen or that you want to tackle?

Justin– I’m not telling (LOL)

Everyone– laughs

Ashley– * sings I will never tell

Justin-I will tell you this.. There’s a lot of stuff we didn’t get too this season and I’m dying to get to it. I personally interested in the dynamics on the faculty level on this campus, I want to learn about the black kids that don’t live in Armstrong Parker, and also.. That’s all I’m going to say, you’ll just have to wait and see.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with the lovely cast of Dear White People and check out the first season now streaming on Netflix. You will not be disappointed. Until next time!

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Should You Be Friends with Your Co-Workers?

Working a 9 to 5 can be tough, especially when struggling to balance work and social life.  Careers in Corporate America seem to give less time to see your closest friends and that opens the door for getting to know your co workers more. The transition can be tough, but conversing with your co workers can make your day fly by, and make adulting not so bad in a work environment. Although it can have its perks, you should be careful in crossing the line of professional and personal relationships.

Getting to know people in a professional atmosphere can be scary at times. When trying to keep your work relationships in check, there are a few things you should  consider before overstepping boundaries at work. For instance, You could be invited out to happy hour after work, just to vibe and get to know each other on a more personal level. After hanging out a few times each week, your co workers try to make it a consistent routine. Now here is where your dilemma starts. Fast forward into another week, Your co worker Renee ask you out for drinks once again, and you’re hesitant to politely decline or accept. You start to wonder what you’re getting yourself into and if you consider her a friend outside of work. One may prefer to keep their work and personal lives separate and aren’t as open to befriending their coworkers. When trying to build these relationships, it’s important to remember to never let efforts to become friends to ruin your professional connections. that needs to remain a top priority. If hanging out doesn’t happen naturally, Don’t force it! Always stay within your comfort level.

Becoming besties with your colleagues in certain settings may not be wise, but you don’t have to avoid office relationships completely either. A major key when forming relationships at work is to remember it’s all networking. Success in any field depends on the relationships we develop. The people you cross paths with when working, become apart of your network. Getting a mentor can also help excel in your career. Becoming close with a boss or manager in a higher department can be a excellent way to receive recommendations towards your future. Seeking mentorship with someone  can be beneficial and a good experience. Focus your relationship on learning professionally. Talk to him or her about your goals for your career and what you plan to build and excel in your field. Ask for advice on the types of jobs you wish to pursue and if you would be interested in a similar position. If you follow these steps and develop this relationship well, and this ultimately help you throughout your career!

There should always be fine line between professionalism and friendship. Always remember to consider boundaries and the proper protocol to follow in the workplace. I hope this was helpful to readers and help guide you on the right path. Well, Until next time!

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5 Events to Celebrate Women’s History Month

U-N-I-T-Y! Happy National Women’s History Month!

Women across the country are speaking out and standing up  for gender equality, including the ladies at DCWKLY.  Feminism has become an ongoing and vital part of our nation, thanks to Women’s Movements held across the country. It’s about having the freedom to express yourself and making choices what is right for you. Numerous of high profile celebrities such as Beyonce, Amber Rose, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna have been strong advocates in proclaiming that women have a voice and should be able to use it at all times. 

In honor of celebrating the major roles women play in society, here are several events held in the metropolitan area you can attend to celebrate and support the spirit of Women’s History Month

 

Women’s Day at Lord and Taylor
March 18th

 

Lord and Taylor wants women feel appreciated and are inviting us to join together and celebrate with a day filled with tender love and care. The event will feature a fashion show, showcasing popular women designers, live entertainment, facials and complimentary makeovers. Guests will have the chance to meet and greet with well renowned entrepreneurs and women authors. The author of “The Beauty Diary”, Bailey Semmons, will also be featured at the event.

BeYOUtiful Women’s Networking Brunch
March 19th


The BeYOUtiful Women’s Brunch celebrates women who are working together and helping shape our future. The networking event will feature speakers that will share their stories of success and give wisdom on coming into self worth and self discovery.

Writing Women Into History
March 22

The District of Columbia of Young Democrats invites women clubs throughout the DMV and the public to attend a reception to converse with light refreshments. Guest speakers will feature Tina L. Fletcher, Akilah R. Ensley, and Renee Johnson. The event will discuss how to help women expand their political views and make plans to move into the future.

She Rocks
March 24th

She Rocks is back! It is hosting its fifth annual weekend event dedicated to women in business and arts. SheROCKS was established in 2013 by the Love Life Media firm, which thrive to help women in the entertainment and business field who didn’t have a voice. It is one of the fastest growing networking events for emerging women entrepreneurs. The event also honors women whose  have paved the way for the success of other connoisseurs of the arts and in business.

Brunch Fit For A Queen
April 1st


The Lead girl foundation is excited to announce its second annual Brunch fit for a queen. Its mission is to make women throughout the metropolitan area to feel empowered.  A brunch want to come together to share our experiences, hopes, and doubts fears to accelerate steps towards equality.

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Black Pyramid, Virle Cole, and Christopher Schafer Stand Out at Crystal Couture 2017

It was a scene of eclectic fashion, unique designs and good vibes: Crystal Couture 2017, was a three day event, open and free to the public for fashion lovers to participate in. The combined fashion show and pop up shop experience invited shopaholics and fashion mavens alike to enjoy professional choreographed runway models, generously discounted boutique items, and stylist consultations.

The pop up shop featured a complimentary open bar with a lounge vibe, allowing shoppers to converse and sip drinks while browsing and purchasing the featured brands.  The fashion show  showcased the bold and fun fashion of upcoming designers. Featuring over 18 designers, Chris Brown’s “Black Pyramid” line, Virle Cole, and Christopher Schafer Clothier were standouts.

Athleisure is a timeless trend that will never die and Black Pyramid is ahead of the game. The Black Pyramid presentation took us into Brown’s creative mind. It truly combines fashion, art, music, and sports. The singer’s unisex label embodied a genuine extension of Chris Brown’s personal style communicated through quality streetwear pieces, featuring unique hand stitched detailed tops, bottoms, outerwear, tees, and accessories.

 

Virle Cole thrives to inspire the present to look to at fashion’s past. Featuring vintage thrift pieces remastered, the line showcased modernized retro looks from the 60s and 70s. Merging  innovative patterns with colorful imagery, each item runway piece appeared to be hand selected for its tailoring, fabric,color and print to satisfy all fashion lovers’ senses.

 

Christopher Schafer Clothier , a Baltimore based tailor specializing in custom men’s attire and accessories commanded the runway. Combining classic fabrics, modern patterns and clean lines, the suits modeled by dapper gentleman exuded sex appeal, confidence and power.

 

Crystal Couture was also a great experience to witness upcoming designers’ work first hand. I look forward to attending next year and encourage all DCWKLY readers and lovers of fashion to do the same! 

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