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10 Young Adult Movies and TV Shows Featuring Interracial Love, Ranked


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Television and movies have come a lot further when it comes to diversity than in the past, although there’s still plenty of work to be done. The first interracial kiss that happened on TV is disputed to this day, but one of the shows where this was cited as happening first was Star Trek. In the episode, “Plato’s Stepchildren,” there’s a scene where a Black actress and a white actor kiss in a non-romantic context. Decades later, interracial love has appeared more commonly in movies and television shows from Western countries, making it a subject often discussed further in context.

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That said, young adult shows and movies, which are often adapted from books, have been at the forefront of depicting such relationships. As the younger generations grow up with these kinds of relationships normalized, the media has increasingly begun to reflect that, making it less of a social stigma that it once was, especially in the ’60s, and turning it into something that should be more celebrated. Here are 10 young adult movies and TV shows with a component of interracial love within their stories.

10 Everything, Everything (2017)

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

Release Date
May 18, 2017

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
96

The 2017 movie Everything, Everything is adapted from a young adult novel of the same name, written by Nicola Yoon. Amandla Stenberg stars as Maddy, who is forced to live a life contained inside of her home due to a rare immune disorder. Despite this, she dreams of going outside and exploring the world, especially seeing the ocean for the first time. But when she meets a boy her age from the new family next door, everything is about to change for her.

A Sweet Romance Full of Hope

The romance in Everything, Everything is sweet, and although the movie really fails to raise the stakes throughout its running time, it still captures the spirit of young adults, one Black and one white, falling in love. With some twists incorporated into the story, it isn’t too monotonous. Above all, it gives a sense of infallible hope. Rent on Prime Video

9 The Perfect Date (2019)

the perfect date

the perfect date

Release Date
April 12, 2019

Director
Chris Nelson

Runtime
93

Released in 2019, The Perfect Date stars Noah Centineo, Laura Marano, and Camila Mendes in the lead roles. In it, a teenage boy named Brooks (another Noah Centineo heartthrob) has different aspirations than what his parents expect him to do, creating some friction in his life. He lands a gig where he has to pose as the boyfriend of a wealthy classmate’s cousin, sending him on a completely new path where he has to learn about not only being rich, but about himself as well.

Lovers from Different Cultural and Socioeconomic Backgrounds

While Mendes and Centineo’s characters might not be sailing for smooth waters when it comes to their interracial relationship, it still adds another element of conflict to keep the story going. Some might find it relatable how Brooks navigates a wealthier world than the one he’s inhabited before, especially considering his own socioeconomic background. Stream on Netflix

8 XO, Kitty (2023-Present)

A spin-off from the extremely popular series To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, XO, Kitty released its first season in the summer of 2023. Starring Anna Carthcart as Kitty, reprising her role in the aforementioned film series, she retraces her deceased mother’s footsteps all the way back to South Korea, attending the same school her mother once went to. As it turns out, Dae, the boy she met at the end of the preceding film, and started dating, attends that school as well. What’s more, he has a completely different life than she expected.

Romance in a Diverse School Setting

Although the plot leaves more to be desired when it comes to certain narrative elements, XO, Kitty is incredibly fun throughout its first season. With an incredibly diverse school and LGBTQ+ themes, there’s certainly a lot packed into this show that makes it stand out. Stream on Netflix

Related: 20 Best Rom-Coms on Netflix, Ranked

7 The Half of It (2020)

Alice Wu directs 2020’s The Half of It, which was released on Netflix after getting initial buzz at the Tribeca Film Festival. Its main character is Ellie Chu, who lives in a rural town without anyone she can really call a friend. But when one of her classmates, a football player named Paul, approaches her asking for her to write a love letter for him, she agrees to do so for the money. Despite initially wanting nothing to do with any of this, she becomes roped into the situation even more as she engages with Paul’s crush, Aster.

A Quiet Romance Between Two Young Women

Based on Cyrano de Bergerac, although quite loosely in a contemporary setting, The Half of It has its moments. With a lot of heart, and some subtle LGBTQ+ themes incorporated into its storyline, there’s a lot to be admired in the quiet romance — between Ellie, who is Asian, and Aster, who is part-Latina — found within this film. Stream on Netflix

6 The Sun Is Also a Star (2019)

The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star

Release Date
May 16, 2019

Director
Ry Russo-Young

Rating
PG-13

Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton star in The Sun Is Also a Star, which is based on the Nicola Yoon novel of the same name. In it, Natasha (Shahidi) lives in New York City and has a major problem: her family is going to be deported to Jamaica the next day, as they’re illegal immigrants. When getting off of the subway, another teenager (Melton), who is Korean, spots Natasha and decides to follow her, and, after an incident, they start talking. What happens next is for the romance books.

A New York City Romance

Set in the heart of New York City, this is a young adult romance story that could only happen in such a diversely populated space. While it has a lot of difficult subjects complicating its main storyline, it’s still straightforward, making such topics easy to access for everyone. Rent on Prime Video

5 Elemental (2023)

 Elemental

Elemental

Release Date
June 16, 2023

Director
Peter Sohn

Runtime
1hr 33min

Read Our Review

A 2023 Disney release, Elemental might not be geared directly towards young adults in its marketing, but considering it’s a Disney movie, and it’s very PG, it definitely fits within the demographic. Set in a city where each of the elements lives within their own communities, a fire element named Ember meets city inspector Wade, a water element, and attempts to save her family’s store. However, the more time she spends with him, the closer the two grow.

An Allegory for Interracial Love

The story behind Elemental is a broader allegory for interracial love, as the two main characters come from different elements. Not only is it a form of subtle representation, but there are many great lessons tucked into this movie’s storyline. Stream on Disney+

4 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

To All The Boys Ive Loved Before

To All The Boys Ive Loved Before

Release Date
August 16, 2018

Director
Susan Johnson

Runtime
99

Based on the novels by Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before stars Lana Condor as Lara Jean Covey. At the beginning of the movie, we learn that she wrote letters to all of her former crushes, but when her sister Kitty finds them, it leads to all the letters being given out to said crushes (which wasn’t Lara Jean’s intention). Now confronted by her crushes past and present, she is going to find something new out of what could be completely and utterly embarrassing.

Why It’s Great

Although the Netflix romance film begins with something absolutely mortifying for its main character, it also shows how the past is always connected with the present. As she learns to move on from some memories and events in the past, Lara Jean creates something completely new for her future. Here, the romance in the spotlight is between Condor’s Lara Jean and Centineo’s Peter. Stream on Netflix

3 The Summer I Turned Pretty (2022-Present)

The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Release Date
June 17, 2022

Cast
Lola Tung , Jackie Chung , Rachel Blanchard

Read Our Season 2 Review

The first season of The Summer I Turned Pretty debuted in summer 2022, making it the perfect summer watch — especially if one was a fan of the books the series is based on. Lola Tung stars as Belly, a teenager who spends her summers at a family friend’s home. Despite no one noticing her, this year, she catches the attention of other people her age, especially the boys.

Young Summer Romance

The Summer I Turned Pretty does an excellent job of capturing the vibes that come with a teenage summer romance, making it the ideal kind of show to watch when summer’s rolling back around after a while. With multiple seasons, it’s also perfect to romance to binge over a weekend at home.

2 Bottoms (2023)

Bottoms

Bottoms

Release Date
August 25, 2023

Director
Emma Seligman

Cast
Ayo Edebiri , Dagmara Dominczyk , Nicholas Galitzine , Rachel Sennott , Kaia Gerber , Ruby Cruz

Rating
R

Runtime
1hr 32min

Read Our Review

Emma Seligman’s 2023 release, Bottoms is a high unconventional take on young adult shows, but a welcome one at the end of the day. It features two gay high schoolers who, in an attempt to get closer to their crushes, start a fight club for the girls attending their school. As they begin to usurp the football boys, it leads to an unorthodox rivalry that might even take a dangerous turn.

Heathers for Gen Z

Some might consider Bottoms to be the Heathers for Generation Z, and that label can be highly accurate when it comes to the dark comedy elements of the movie. Bottoms is not only highly entertaining, but incorporates welcome twists to young adult narratives and their tropes. Rent on Prime Video

1 Euphoria (2019-Present)

Euphoria

Starring Zendaya, Euphoria has been the talk of the television world ever since it was first released on HBO in 2019. Set at a high school in California, the main character, Rue, struggles with her drug addiction and recent rehab visit. As she interacts with her classmates and friends, the series explores some of the harder topics, escalating what it might be like to be a teen in today’s world with a flair for the dramatic.

Romance and Heartbreak Are Everywhere

With seductive cinematography, Euphoria always remains visually interesting, even when the plot happening on-screen doesn’t always connect between scenes. Although it can be a bit much at times, Euphoria certainly is a must-watch if one can handle it. In terms of interracial love, there are several couples in the spotlight, namely Zendaya’s Rue and Hunter Schafer’s Jules. Stream on Max

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