- Antoinette Robertson says she felt “isolated” filming “Dear White People” season four.
- Her character, Coco, spends most of the season in a reality show separate from the other main characters.
- Robertson said she “understood” how Coco felt because she also was separated from her fellow castmates.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Dear White People” star Antoinette Robertson told Insider that she felt “isolated” whilst filming the last season of the show because most of her scenes were separate from the main cast.
The Netflix series, based on a Sundance Film Festival award-winning movie made by Simien of the same name, follows the lives of Black students of a supposedly “post-racial” university called Winchester. In the series, Robertson plays Colandrea “Coco” Conners, a quick-witted student from Chicago who settles in with the rich white community of Winchester so she can socially advance.
In season four, Coco takes part in a reality show called “Big House” which means she is separated from the other students of Winchester as she competes to become the first black person to win the show.
“I felt really isolated,” Robertson said to Insider about filming season four. “I could really understand Coco feeling really isolated in ‘Big House’ because I was shooting all of my scenes and I didn’t have all my castmates around me. It’s like having an internship senior year and not having any of your friends so that really sucks.”
She continued: “But I understood the vision for it. I understood the reason Coco was in ‘Big House.’ I also understand the reality TV show space women of color, black women specifically, rarely ever win. So having those conversations is very true. I hear that this season of the show it’s marked after [Big Brother] is different. That’s good to hear. I’m grateful I got to experience all these different things. I wish I had more scenes in Armstrong-Parker and I got to hang out with everyone and do one more big group scene but c’est la vie.”
In the past, “Dear White People” has featured parodies of popular TV series such as “Scandal” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” as TV shows the characters watch within the show. Season four’s TV parody is “Big Brother” and the reality TV genre in general.
Jaclyn Moore, one of the showrunners of “Dear White People” told Insider that they chose this parody for the final season because reality shows are “a distillation of the American experience.”
She explained: “We’re not going to solve racism but if the black contestants on ‘Big Brother’ do well or we’re not going to solve transphobia but if the trans people on ‘The Amazing Race’ get far… There’s like a catharsis that felt slightly different to how the other shows within shows worked on previous years.”
Justin Simien, the creator of “Dear White People” also told Insider that “Big House” fulfills one of the storylines from the original movie that the series is based on. In that movie, Coco (played by Teyonah Parris) competes with Sam (Tessa Thompson) for the attention of a reality TV producer.
“Dear White People” season four arrives on Netflix on September 22. This season differs from previous ones because the showrunners decided to add a musical element to it.