Representation matters: Colorism in American film: A Kent test analysis of “black” movies during the 1990-2000 and 2010-2020 decades

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Jones, Anika
Parcell, Lisa

Research has found that colorism is as impactful as racism in the black community. It has also found that colorism is a important factor in the self-esteem of developing African American girls. Colorism disproportionality effects darker skin African American women and causes society to see them in a negative light. The aim of this study was to examine American film through the lens of colorism. Using the Kent test, created by Clarkisha Kent, this study looked at several films popular among the black community between the decades of the 1990s and the 2010s. This study evaluated each films’ contribution to colorism in American film by examining how darker skin female characters are portrayed compared to their lighter skin counterpart in the same film. This study found that in the past 30 years, the problem with colorism in film has improved. When creating films, it is important to remember that how marginalized groups are portrayed reflect how society will perceive them. Including African American women in the decision making when it comes to how they are portrayed in film lead to successful positive images of darker skin African American women.

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Thesis (M.A.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Elliot School of Communication