The 1990s can be summarized as the decade of interracial couples on television and in movies. There was an exponential growth in interracial relationships and Hollywood jumped on the American acceptance. Jungle Fever, which was released in 1991, is about a successful, married black architect (Wesley Snipe) and his love affair with his white secretary. When speaking about the movie, Spike Lee said, “This interracial storyline gets overshadowed by the drug storyline by the end of the movie.” The quote summarizes the portrayal of interracial romance at this time; it is no longer needed as the main storyline. Even with the increase in on-screen black-white relationships, popular culture still seemed to lag behind the views of most Americans.
Spike Lee has said often, “I can understand why a lot of black women are fed up…black men are with white women for new status, a trophy, and signal they have arrived.” His quote signifies an underlying theme about the public’s view on interracial relationships. It is not uncommon for black man to be with a white woman for an elevated status symbol; the “white anchor” makes them as good as a white man.
In 1991, The Color of Love was released. It is an interracial love story told from the viewpoint of a white female. Another movie, Zebra Head, is a Romeo and Juliet type tale about a white male teen, Zack, who is accused of “acting black”, and a black female teen named Nikki defying racial lines. Zack is accused of being with Nikki only because of the over sexualized stereotype about black women. Shakespeare’s Othello was made into a movie in 1995. The play/film is about a black general and his white wife. The wife’s father believes she is only with him because of trickery.
As a product of the 1990s, nobody can forget our favorite television mixed couple, Sean and Angela, in the classic Boy Meets World television series.
One TV show purposely avoided that topic of interracial relationships. The Cosby Show intentionally avoided this subject at the request of Mr. Cosby himself. He said that it was not ready to be shown, and he didn’t want his television show to be one of the firsts to regularly deal with the issue.