Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

Department Chair or Program Director

Gary Richards

First Advisor

Dr. Adria Goldman

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


This paper analyzes how African-Americans and race are portrayed in two mainstream Hollywood films: Get Out (2017) and Queen & Slim (2019). The goal was to compare emerging themes to what previous literature indicates about the portrayal of African-Americans and race in mainstream films and representation on-screen and behind-the-scenes in Hollywood. Previous literature suggests that African-Americans are often placed in stereotypical and limiting roles and that this is in part due to the lack of diversity behind-the-scenes. A content analysis along with open-source coding revealed racial solidarity as the key emerging theme throughout both films. A theme that was also challenged in Queen & Slim, resulting in a more complex race narrative. Findings suggest that African-Americans are being portrayed in more complex roles and that race in film reflects societal constructions of it. In other words, the portrayal of race in these films mirrors African-American’s lived experiences and the way race is portrayed in American society. I believe the diverse, predominantly black production team, plays a role in portraying race with more nuance and African-Americans with more complexity.