If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SheKnows may receive an affiliate commission.
The romantic comedy is an elusive genre by nature. It’s a hybrid category where titles like The Break-Up (Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn’s problems are too real and yes, they break up) and Easy A (Emma Stone is a charming teen who lies about having sex) arguably co-exist.
The American Film Institute defines “romantic comedy” as a genre in which the development of a romance leads to comic situations. They can be light and fluffy like a cozy marshmallow (The Holiday), or dark and twisty, without the classic happy ending (500 Days of Summer). They’re movies you watch after a breakup, there’s a whole seasonal sub-genre dedicated to rom-coms set around the holidays.
For a category that’s so flexible and expansive in reach, it’s surprising there’s such a dearth in diverse talent on-screen. Out of Rotten Tomatoes’ 200 Best Romantic Comedies of All Time, only 12 feature people of color as both romantic leads. In the American Film Institute’s recent 10 Top 10 list, that number goes down to zero. Rom-coms are a bastion for wealthy, white characters. And they can be laughably corny, sexist, or formulaic — sometimes all of the above.
So where’s everyone else? The stories showing what complicated love looks like for people of color exist, but they’re not necessarily “mainstream” or given as much attention or marketing budget. Even with recent successes like Crazy Rich Asians, the overwhelming amount of press and attention just revealed how novel something like that is. So read on for our rom-com round-up and catch up on our favorite movies featuring people of color falling in (and out of) love with each other, exchanging razor-sharp quips, and getting into countless shenanigans.