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Netflix clearly has no intentions of hitting pause on their recent string of top-shelf originals. The streaming platform announced Thursday it has picked up Dear White People, Justin Simien's critically 2014 satirical drama, as an original series. The best part? Simien is on board for all 10 half-hour episodes.
"Justin is a gifted storyteller whose bold, unique vision is perfectly suited to Netflix," Cindy Holland, Netflix's Vice President of Original Content, said. "His original film Dear White People announced the arrival of a fresh, creative voice that had everyone talking, and we're excited to have Justin create this new series for our members worldwide."
Holland's assessment of Dear White People is spot on, as the film's biting examination of racial tensions at a fictional (and mostly white) Ivy League school inspired a national discourse that has persevered even two years after its release. "In the press there's this desire for the black audience to be this monolithic thing that always responds to the same stars," Simien told Complex back in 2014, just before hitting The Colbert Report (RIP) for one of his biggest interviews yet.
"That's a really reductive way of looking at the black audience," Simien told Complex. "You don't look at the white audience that way—you sort of understand that the 'white' audience, which the industry just plainly calls 'the audience,' responds to different genres and stars. But there seems to be no nuance when it comes to analysts and black moviegoers."
"Finally I can come out," Simien tweeted after news of the series was formally announced. Just one day earlier, Simien had teased big news ahead for the Simien empire:
Netflix's Dear White People will once again be penned by Simien, who will also helm the first episode. "From day one, Lionsgate has been remarkably supportive of the vision for the show, and working with Netflix is every bit as harmonious as I'd imagined it would be," Simien said of the pick-up, which also boasts Stephanie Allain Bray (Hustle & Flow) and Devon Shepard (Weeds) as executive producers. "Bringing this show to such a vibrant platform is an honor I don't take lightly." Shooting begins later this year, setting up the presumably bingeworthy series for a 2017 premiere.