This study explores African-American identity through film, drawing from Spike Lee's cinematic production of X (1992) and Bamboozled (2000). The study brings attention to how African-American identity is negotiated in communicative interactions. In doing so, the study proposes an alternative rhetorical and cultural approach to the nuances of African-American identity. Using contemporary theories from Ronald Jackson, Mark McPhail, Cornel West, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Eric Watts, the researcher explores the dynamics of human interaction: the manifestations of power, perception, essentialist thinking, and how these in turn penetrate through language in our understanding of others. This study makes critical arguments concerning the strategic positioning of language for purposes of understanding culture and difference. More importantly, it rearticulates black identity, making an argument for its complexities, which are other than historical and factual. It argues that black identity needs to be examined in terms of a more critical and culturally appropriate rhetoric.