Watch Joelle perform Des'Ree's 'You Gotta Be' in Dear White People season 4 sneak peek
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It's definitely fair to say Joelle nailed this audition.
EW is debuting an exclusive clip from Dear White People's musical fourth and final season, which features Joelle (Ashley Blaine Featherson) performing Des'Ree's "You Gotta Be" in her audition for Winchester University's varsity show. This is just one of several numbers you can expect in the Netflix satire's new season, which transforms into a '90s jukebox musical as most of the characters head toward graduation.
Featherson was thrilled when she found out about the final season's ambitious structure. "I went to school for musical theater, so I was like, 'These are my musical theatre dreams coming true in the fourth season of a show that was not at all a musical," she told EW in a recent interview. "For me, I was like, 'God, you're listening!' So it definitely was very, very exciting for me."
As many producers and actors will tell you, making a single musical episode is daunting and difficult during normal times. The Dear White People team faced an even greater challenge because they not only had to produce 10 musical installments, but they had to do so in the middle of a devastating global pandemic. And yet somehow they did.
"I think that collectively, psychologically speaking, everybody, myself included, was just trying to deal with the daily trauma of existing in the world during this time, let alone creating a TV show, let alone creating a musical TV show. I mean, it really was crazy," said creator Justin Simien. "But it was almost so crazy that… there really wasn't a choice but to surrender to it at a certain point and to just hope that whatever ideas we came up with before the pandemic were good enough to lean into, because there really wasn't a lot of time to think, or wash, or figure out where I was. We just had to go every day."
Featherson added: "I think for me the hardest part was we didn't have a lot of rehearsal time… For me, looking at the show now, it makes me all the more grateful for the work that we did do because I think it's really incredible considering the fact that we didn't just have weeks and months of rehearsal. We really were just thrust into it, and I think the work we did was superb given the circumstances."
Watch the exclusive clip above. The 10-episode final season of Dear White People premieres Wednesday on Netflix.
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