Antoinette Robertson, DeRon Horton, John Patrick Amedori and Ashley Blaine Featherson are set as regulars in Dear White People, Netflix’s half-hour comedy series based on Justin Simien’s acclaimed debut indie feature. Marque Richardson also joins as recurring, reprising his role from the 2014 pic.
Set among a diverse group of students of color as they navigate a predominantly white Ivy League college where racial tensions are often swept under the rug, Dear White People is a sendup of “post-racial” America that also weaves a universal story about forging one’s own unique path.
Robertson will play Coco Conners, an economics major and bombshell who is baffled by Winchester’s hierarchy of blackness that favors natural hair over the “good hair” she bought. Unfazed by the blackface party, Coco deplores Samantha White’s “entry level black rage” and her “self-serving” Dear White People radio show.
Horton is Lionel Higgins, a self-proclaimed nerd, who becomes an unlikely hero for being the only student journalist to write a firsthand report on the blackface party that rocks Winchester. Despite this early victory, Lionel — who is still coming to terms with his sexuality — discovers that navigating between the disparate black and gay cultures on campus is his most arduous challenge yet.
Amedori will portray Gabe, Sam’s intellectual equal and their debates are passionate and as heated as their secret (for now) affair. Gabe genuinely loves Sam and wants their relationship to go to the next level, but feels pushed aside in the groundswell of Sam’s racially political movement.
Featherson is Joelle Brooks, a girl who can code switch at lightning speed and is Sam White’s best friend. While smart, funny and charming, Joelle prefers to orbit Sam’s bright star instead of shining on her own, but soon starts to covet Sam’s life.
Richardson will reprise the role of Reggie, the character he portrayed in the 2014 feature. Reggie Green is a computer science major and Sam’s right hand man. He’s one of the more radical voices at Winchester thanks in no small part to his having been raised by a Black Panther. Often underestimated by the campus at large, Reggie uses his hyper intellect and tech smarts to make a real difference on campus as he strives to live up to the expectations of his parents.
The series, which will begin filming this month for a 2017 debut, will be produced by Lionsgate, whose sister company Roadside Attractions released the original film in 2014.
Simien will write for the series and direct several episodes. Executive producers are Yvette Lee Bowser (Black-ish, Living Single, Different World), Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow, Dear White People), and Julia Lebedev (The Dinner, Dear White People).
Dear White People joins Orange is the New Black as Lionsgate’s second original series for Netflix.
Robertson had major recurring roles on the CW’s Hart of Dixie and OWN’s The Haves and the Have Nots. She’s repped by CESD, Luber Roklin Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman. Horton landed his first leading role in indie feature Dirt and next will star in Burning Sands, an original film for Netflix. He’s repped by ICM Partners, Gallant Management and Gang Tyre. Amedori was a series regular on VH1’s Hindsight, recurred on NBC’s Aquarius with David Duchovny and starred in the Lakeshore film The Vatican Tapes with Michael Pena and Djimon Hounsou. He’s repped by Gersh and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Featherson appeared in the Dear White People film, and her other credits include Fox’s Glee and the CBS pilot Drew. She’s repped by Pantheon, Discover Management and attorney Darrell Miller. Richardson appears in HBO’s All the Way and next will be seen in sorority comedy Step Sisters, which Broad Green Pictures has slated for theatrical release in 2017. He’s repped by Link Entertainment and Myman Greenspan.