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In "Opening up hearts and minds" in The Boston Globe, James H. Burnett III profiles PARIAH's writer/director Dee Rees and its star Adepero Oduye. It's a smart piece that links PARIAH to the real world it movingly portrays. As Burnett points out, "Nearly 30 percent of gay and lesbian juveniles drop out of high school in the face of frequent harassment over their sexuality." Part of what makes the story so real is that it comes from Rees' lived experience. As Rees explains:

This is partly an autobiographical story...I was Alike in the sense that coming out as a younger woman was not always an easy process for me. I may not have experienced the violent elements of her life, but I know what she went through. I'm a Christian. I was raised a Protestant, a Methodist. Understanding me was not always easy for my parents. And I know that it's a more common experience than some people either want to admit or even realize.