Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Social Psychology


Philip Kretsedemas


Megan Rokop

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Film and Media Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology | Sociology


In this study, I compare how films portray relationships involving Black people, over the course of 5 decades. I do this by analyzing the characters and relationships in the top-grossing film from each decade (1960’s through 2000’s), that have a focus on Black love. I started this journey curious about how the silver screen portrayed how Black people loved romantically. As a person who regularly frequents my local major movie theatre, I had become tired of only seeing Black actors in comedies, Black men in drag and buddy dramas. I also grew tired of the sappy love stories featuring White protagonists and the predictable nature of their films. I set out to analyze the life of the relationship, the common interests of the characters and how characters in the film external of the relationship viewed the relationship. Though I could have done research on independent films, where I might have found the prevalence of Black characters on a more regular basis, I thought it was crucial to analyze what major studios and theatres thought was digestible to the major public.