Winchester University is back in session and the star of Season 2 is without a doubt, Joelle Brooks.
She's been in the mix of Dear White People ever since it was just a film. But on this season of the now-Netflix series, Ashley Blaine Featherson finally got a chance to really shine. Introduced in Season 1 as Sam White's always-down-for-the-cause best friend, Joelle was formerly relegated to the role of spirited sidekick, and for us darker black women, that really kind of sucked. While colorism certainly shouldn't be a thing, it most definitely still is. Personally, I get tired of seeing women with my complexion and darker not getting any screen-time compared to our lighter counterparts.
Fortunately, Season 2 found Joelle with her own episode, which she truly shined in. Honestly, I never would've known she was a brainiac if it wasn't for that episode. An in addition to her "smartest girl in school" newsflash, Joelle had plenty of other standout moments. My favorites include:
1. When she coined the term pre-bating
The number one thing I love about Joelle is her commitment to being as blunt and nonchalant about things as possible. Now, maybe she was a little blunter than I'd want her to be if she caught me masturbating in my dorm like she did Sam, but her quips were hella funny.
First, it was the 13 Reasons Why jab, but the one that really took the cake was pre-bating. Never in my life had a heard that term, but it made perfect sense. According to Joelle, it's "when you take care of yourself so you don't lose your mind in the company of problematic dick." Definitely useful and relatable.
2. Her singing Erykah Badu
A black woman who doesn't love or who hasn't sung "Tyrone" while thinking about a particularl man, hasn't yet lived. Joelle killed her open mic night performance belting about an acapella version of this 90s jam. And it didn't hurt that she was throwing daggers towards Reggie, the always-fine, but incredibly-clueless crush she's had since DWP first began.
3. When she told off that hotep
This is one twist I actually kind of saw coming. From the moment Joelle met "T. King" something about him seemed off. Or maybe it's just that I'm instantly turned off by guys who constantly call me "queen" and spew conspiracy theories about "the man." Either way, I knew he was trouble and sure enough he turned out to be.
Now Joelle being the classy person that she is tried to tell the guy off gently, but when he hurled an LGBTQ+ slur and called Sam a "halfrican" she had to take it up a notch, and boy did she deliver. I won't spoil the moment (more than I already have that is), but it's worth watching more than once.
5. When she and reggie finally got it on
I could have shouted to the heavens, and honestly, I think I did, when this happened. It was clear since Season 1 that Joelle had a thing for Reggie. And who could blame her? Problem is Reggie only had eyes for Sam, even though (1) she was never thinking about him and (2) she had a boyfriend. Something last semester did a whammy on Reggie though, and finally, he saw Joelle for the "queen" she is. Not entirely sure if this situationship will make it all the way through Season 3, but hell, let's hope so.
Now, while Joelle is clearly my favorite character, everyone in DWP is amazing and this season is a definite must-watch. Hey, you may even see Kelsey's beloved emotional-support dog Sorbet from Season 1 again.*
*Who am I kidding, you totally will.
Dear White People Vol.'s 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix now!
Photo credits: Netflix