The movie focuses on four black students named Lionel (Tyler James Williams), Samantha (Tessa Thompson), Colandrea (Teyonah Parris) and Troy (Brandon Bell), who attend the fictional Ivy League college Winchester University. Samantha hosts the radio show "Dear White People" and becomes president of her all-black residential hall on the type of campus where white students throw "African-American theme" parties.
The Justin Simian film won over audiences at Sundance Film Festival this year with its satirical examination of racial identity, post-racial fantasies and cultural appropriation. Simian based the script on his own experience at college, and funded the movie on the website Indiegogo.
"My film isn't about 'white racism' or racism at all," the director asserted in an op-ed on Huffington Post. "What my film is about however is identity. It's about the difference between how the mass culture responds to a person because of their race and who they understand themselves to truly be."
Dear White People opens in theaters October 17.