Dear… [Review]

Dear… is one of the newest series to premiere on the still new and fresh Apple TV+ streaming service. I haven’t found time to dive into a lot of their programming, but I’m a massive fan of Mythic Quest, and even more so for their latest Quarantine episode. This brings us to one of our latest original programs, Dear… which is a docuseries that profiles game-changers.

Each episode takes a different subject, such as Spike Lee, Oprah, Stevie Wonder and a few other revolutionary artists, athletes, journalists and all-around great humans. We are shown a cliff-notes version of their life and upbringing. Who they are, where they come from and where they plan on going in the future. And the series is very informative. As fans of Spike Lee and Lin-Manuel Miranda, I still learned new things walking out of the almost thirty-minute episodes. Oprah’s episode is almost 40 minutes, but we can make an exception for Oprah.

During the subject’s conversation with the interviewer, and to us, they also are reading letters from fans and people who have been inspired in one way or another from them. And this is where the waterworks begin. It’s during these moments in which the subject then sees what their influence has been.

In all of the cases, the fans who have written letters are people who were at a low point in their life, and then was introduced to the subject’s work and how that gave them the motivation and push to change something about their life. Sometimes in the case of Bryan Stevenson who was depicted recently in Just Mercy, who was able to start the Equal Justice Initiative thanks to being inspired by Stevie Wonder.

On paper, yes the docuseries isn’t necessarily groundbreaking to the genre. We are seeing the cause and the effect of lives. But, it’s still so powerful. There couldn’t be a better time to release this project.

The truth is right now, the world is pretty scary. Between COVID, and the last week in all the news regarding George Floyd, we’re all heartbroken. But we’re heartbroken together. This series tells us that we don’t have to be famous to make a change. And it’s times like these, where it feels evident that we have to be able to help, stand and be an ally at all times, not just when we’re in the spotlight. Lin talks about the influence we don’t know we have when we make something, but it doesn’t stick to just creators. As he says, every time we throw rocks in a pond, we don’t know the ripples that will come back to us. And that’s how we start change.

There’s a quote from one of the letters that have stuck with me since I watched the episode and it’s written below.

“You taught me that all of the little sharp edges and broken pieces of our past don’t blow away in the wind. But they can be formed into armor and protect us for the next battle.”

If there’s one thing to take away from the show, it’s hope, and change. In whatever unfortunate dire situation you might find yourself in, there is help for you, but also we as a community and come together to help. We don’t need to lie dormant, we have the power to spark a movement. And when we’re feeling down, or like we can’t do it, there are many people to inspire us and motivate us to never give up. When we fall, we pick ourselves up and try again.