Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Intercollegiate Media Studies

Reader 1

Briana Toole

Reader 2

Derik Smith

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Black women often receive the short stick when it comes to positive and fulfilling portrayals of themselves within popular sources of media. In this paper I will be analyzing the reason behind this, specifically in depictions of romance, from both Black and white filmmakers. In order to begin this sort of analysis we need to start from the beginning of Black Americans’ socialization within this country which is a conversation surrounding the institution of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. The violent power hierarchies that were socialized into this country’s political, social and economic order, naturally influenced the way that enslaved Black people viewed masculinity, femininity and their own perception of their race. I unpack these topics with the analysis of the historical implications in relation to the popular media that we’ve seen created in the past 15 years, paying special attention to the film and TV industry. I learn throughout this exploration that a lot of the popular tropes we’ve seen of the Black community in these pieces are heavily influenced and birthed from images created by white people from the early 1900s. The constant cycling of these images has created a reality of how society views the Black community, and Black women more specifically, to the point where we replicate these detrimental images ourselves. This is the ultimate restriction to the Black creative mind when attempting to create depictions of love within the Black community on screen in ways we haven’t seen before.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.