The first season of Dear White People dropped on Netflix last Friday and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. There are so many elements to love about the series from its PHENOMENAL writing, a dope cast, as well as an in-depth take on the diversity of black experiences in a white space. While watching the show there were many moments where I found myself WEAK because it featured so many things my friends and I have talked about.
Each episode of the series highlights a character’s backstory and their specific internal battle. Sam is the biracial student that is super passionate about the struggle because she is coming into understanding her blackness. Lionel, is the withdrawn journalist struggling through coming to terms with his sexuality in the midst of a culture filled with homophobic Black masculinity. Troy is the product of privilege and Black excellence, but he could really be doing more. My personal favorite out of all the diverse Black experiences is Coco Conners and how she let go of her alleged Prince Charming.
We’ve all fallen into the trap of being engrossed in the idea of someone and not necessarily that person and Coco is no different.
Colandrea “Coco” Conners like many Black women, grew up in a world where she was marginalized because of her gender and race. From being told that she was not beautiful enough because of her complexion, to having the notion that she needed to find the right man so that she could fully realize her career ingrained in her – Coco has had her share of experiences. Through these things and more Coco reminds me of myself and so many other women I know. She is POPPIN in her own right, yet she still feels she needs the validation of having Troy aka Winchester’s #1 FuckBoy as her man.
Coco wanted Troy, from their first introduction when he shielded her from the rain and hit her with “We can’t let this beautiful chocolate melt in the rain.” Who can really blame her for it? On the surface Troy seems perfect but when his character is explored we see he’s not what we think he is (as with most guys).
During the series we see Coco hoping she can be wifey but to him she’s nothing more than just a “come thru” message. In Chapter 4 we see Coco ask him why it was easy for him to claim Sam but not her, and instead of answering the question, he avoids it by initiating sex. Nine times out of ten if you have to ask someone to claim you or why they aren’t, THEY DON’T HAVE ANY PLANS TO DO IT.
Coco, like many women, still decides to make Troy “THE ONE”. She realizes he’s not the brightest and that he’s a puppet BUT she feels he can fit into the mold of what she feels like could be a good partner for her future. On her life list we see: Get into Winchester, Find “THE ONE”, Intern at a major law firm, Law school, Marry “THE ONE”. This explains why she is really trying to get serious with him. He doesn’t necessarily fit into the mold but she’s GOING to make him fit (which I, myself have been guilty of doing in the past lol).
While they are at an event mingling with donors she FINALLY realizes he isn’t the picture perfect guy she thought he was. When Dean Fairbanks says, “Listen to her Troy and you’ll go far,” Coco looks as if the light bulb came on. SHE’S the one that’s now pulling the strings to advance Troy. He can’t advance her. Earlier in the day while they were messing around she was literally planning their life together: “We’ll go to Columbia”, “I’ll be a hot-shot lobbyist” and “We’ll have two kids Penelope and Prescott.” All the while Troy says nothing and continues focusing on sex. Here she’s made the mistake many women make, planning a life while the guy is just there for the moment. She did all the talking and planning while he literally said nothing. When a guy isn’t ACTIVE or ATTENTIVE in future plans it’s for a reason – they have no intentions in BEING in the future plans.
Coco is the one to realize she and Troy are props to show that Armstrong-Parker doesn’t have to be integrated in order for the campus to be peaceful. Troy on the other hand, thinks he’s there because his father wants to show he’s ready to have a real relationship with him. The problem in this is that Troy is nothing but a boy seeking his dad’s approval and because of this he’s ALWAYS going to float aimlessly in life playing the role that his father wants him too. Coco, on the other hand is more ambitious and likely to succeed because SHE WANTS TO DO SO, not because it’s someone’s dream for her.
Their “situationship” comes to a head when Coco goes behind Troy and talks to Sam about cancelling the protest. The problem is she didn’t allow him to do it because she didn’t think he would. During their argument Troy FINALLY says what everyone is thinking “You don’t like me, you like the IDEA of me, better yet the idea of us.” She asks him if he’s breaking up with her and he hits her with “we weren’t exclusive.” She was living in a delusion when she was planning their future, kids and all.
Coco responds with the greatest SLAY, “I’m smarter than you. I’m more ambitious than you. Thirty years from now when I’m the second black female president you’ll think of me and I won’t even remember your name.”
Even though Coco and Troy may not had been an “official” couple, she was still supporting him and building him up. Troy was a necessary experience for Coco to have because through her situationship with him she saw her true value. She IS smarter than him. She IS more ambitious than him. She didn’t need to lower her standards to make him fit in her box.
A strong woman needs a strong man, not one that can be told what his future is. Coco discovered that Troy was just a puppet and not on her level. She thought she could deal with him but the closer she got to him the more she realized that, “It’s not as good as you think it is..being with him,” as she told Lionel. In order for her to truly walk in her #BlackGirlMagic and to learn that her light shined without him she had to ditch him.
Coco is the unsung hero of #DearWhitePeople for many reasons but especially because she ditched her fuckboy to really shine. Her light was dimming because she had to constantly turn hers down to illuminate his. Once she got rid of him, she could truly glow on her own accord. Leaving Troy was the best thing she could’ve done because if not she would’ve forever been in his shadow and we KNOW Coco is the only one that will shine. Sometimes we need to leave what we THINK will be good for us and EMBRACE our true potential.
IMAGES VIA GIPHY