Justin Simien

This one has been long over-due… Justin Simien, friends! The sensible mind behind Dear White People talks about his high school days, pointing out how this chapter in his life formed a deep love for the arts (07:13), then delves into theater as an entryway into the realm of storytelling (11:32), the past and putting things in perspective (14:37), an introduction to Fosse, Kubrick, and other cinematic influences (17:38), in some cases… separating the art from the artist (22:05), the evolution of who we are vs. who we present ourselves to be (28:18), working in publicity but wanting to make movies (31:44), juggling life and career in his 20’s (35:02), who’s who in the gay community (36:37), HBO and self-discovery (41:14), being “shady” (44:19), people’s approval and the birth of Dear White People (46:26), his father’s passing (53:30), refrences, statements and getting a call from Spike Lee (57:33), the democracy that is storytelling (1:03:12), and where he finds his peace (1:06:18).


  • The new season of Dear White People is streaming on Netflix now.
  • Check out Justin’s podcast, Don’t @ Me, available on iTunes, Google Play, and KCRW.
  • Justin’s Book, also titled Dear White People, was originally published in 2014 and is available online.
  • For more, visit Justin’s website.

Illustrations by Krishna Shenoi. Music by Dylan Peck and Jinsang. This episode of Talk Easy was taped at York Recording in Los Angeles, California. Special thanks to engineer Tim Moore.

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Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso is a free, independently produced podcast. We are supported by our listeners. So, if you can, consider donating to our show here. If you prefer Venmo over PayPal, that works too: @talkeasypod. And thank you for the help. We couldn’t do this show without you.