Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

Communication and Media Studies

Primary Minor


Thesis Advisor

Carlos Rodriguez, MA


When thinking of role models, the notion is typically speculated from the perspective of the youth; though, black role models are known to have a direct contribution on the lives of men and women in all stages of adulthood as well (18+). Researching the essence and character of role models, more specifically black role models will include, but are not limited to: 1) how they transcend into the role model they eventually become; 2) what is considered to be important in not just a leader but a black leader; and 3) the barriers black people have to fight to become role models. The positive self-image is a common trait in many role models, specifically black role models. Black people in (relative) recent history have had to overcome a significant mental barrier, mainly due to the racist interpretation of the pigmentation in a black person's skin. An inferiority complex can develop over time, due to the role model’s experience through systematic racism, bigotry, and segregation in years past, inevitably nurturing a negative self-image. This opposes what is generally looked for in a role model, and part of the reason a search for a positive self-image should be seriously considered during the quest for an adequate role model. As role aspirants we must learn to adopt specific characteristics that our black role models possess. The characteristics that must be aimed to obtain will coincide with simple success principles learned from multiple best-selling self-development books. These books ultimately focus on the recognition of the “self.” After reading said books, there is no wonder why David Goggins, Oprah Winfrey, and Bob Marley, three featured black role models, are recognized as successful role models.