The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe interviews 31-year-old writer-director Justin Simien on his journey to produce “Dear White People” due to hit nationwide theaters on October 24, 2014. Already, the film’s various samplings circulating social media is causing the necessary buzz to go blockbuster. But is this all buzz and no bear? We’ll see next week.
When you’re writing and directing a satire like Dear White People, how do you blend narrative content and social commentary so that they effectively inform one another?
For me, the thing that I always try to do is to decide very early on what it is the movie’s about at its core. If a scene that says a bunch of things I want it to say can’t hang on the core of the film, then it doesn’t belong there. For me, I felt like the film was really just about the conflict between a person’s identity and their true selves. Everything that happened in a scene has to hang on that conflict and specifically has to hang on that conflict in relation to the arc of the four main characters.
“I swear you can’t f*ck with me
But I can f*ck your girl and make her nut for me
Then slutt for me, then kill for me, then steal for me
And of course it’ll be your cash
Then I’ll murder that b*tch
and send her body back to your a*s” – Lil Wayne, “We Be Steady Mobbin”
Imagine an entire generation of young people hearing lyrics like this on a daily basis, reciting mantras that glorify drug and alcohol consumption, the objectification of women, murdering other black people, anti-intellectualism, financial irresponsibility and every other thing you can do to destroy your life. Do you REALLY believe that a child can hear this message every single day, repeating these lyrics literally thousands of times and not have his subconscious mind altered by the messages he’s consuming? Do you REALLY think that the corporations earning billions of dollars from this form of weaponized psychological genocide care one bit about whether your son ends up in the prison, the morgue, the rehab center, the insane asylum or the unemployment line?