Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Committee Chairperson

Matthew Meier, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger D. Gatchet, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anita Foeman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Bessie L. Lawton, Ph.D.


Although Hollywood films are distributed globally, they have historically featured white actors and reflected Western life. As Hollywood influences one’s understanding of race in the United States, Black Panther (2018) and Crazy Rich Asian’s (2018) inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities combat racism and xenophobia and reveal alternate ways in which power is manifested in society. This thesis project utilizes critical rhetoric as its method to give a voice to communities of color that have been marginalized due to colonization and persistent structural racism. It employs Critical Race Theory, postcolonialism, and Afrofuturism as its theoretical lenses to explain how race is constructed, deconstructed, and reimagined in society. The findings of this study suggest that Black Panther rejects colonial dominance through its depiction of Africa as efficient, wealthy, and technologically advanced. As the first film to feature an all-Asian cast in twenty-five years, Crazy Rich Asians celebrates Asian cultures in mainstream media. It further challenges Hollywood’s hegemonic depictions of Asian and Asian American people and discusses issues within the Asian diaspora as it relates to race, class, and identity.