How Shonda Rhimes Is Impacting Race and Gender in Hollywood

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,665
    Why are people throwing shade at Shonda Rhimes lately? Could it be because she may currently be the most powerful showrunner in television? There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the lady in charge of hit shows Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away With Murder. Get up to speed so you can join this important conversation.

    Becca Frucht: The Shonda Rhimes effect goes beyond ratings. POPSUGAR's Lindsay Miller and Allison McNamara join me to discuss how the show runner's prime time takeover has launched an important conversation about race and gender in Hollywood. Lindsay Miller: Okay, so when The New York Times ran a piece by Alessandra Stanley last month that referred to Shonda as "an angry Black woman", along with several other misguided musings, it prompted this total firestorm, Kerry Washington, 'Scandal' star, and Shonda herself fired back. Allison McNamara: And meanwhile, 'How to Get Away with Murder', a series that she is executive producing, a show that I watch, I love, debuted to huge numbers, between this show 'Scandal' and 'Grey's Anatomy', she is basically helming ABC's entire Thursday prime time lineup. Becca Frucht: And it's the reaction to this dominance that really shines a light on how our society views influential minorities and women. Here is Shonda's take on it. The day The New York Times article came out Shonda blasted to pieces troubling assertions on Twitter, including a snarkly suggesting that she needed more prep time for her NPR panel that night, because she is #less classically beautiful. At the event Shonda joked that she had actually woken up a pretty happy Black woman and took on the token character epidemic stating that shows with only one, i.

    e.

    , only one Black, Asian or gay character will always be limited by stereotypes, and it's her hope that having more than one on her shows allows those characters to really develop. Shonda is on the cover of the Hollywood Reporter's latest issue as well. She addressed the controversy in her interview, but also fired back when asked about how she juggles three kids and three shows. The questions drives me nuts, what does Chuck Lorre say when you ask him about work-life balance? Shonda also said that race and gender are terribly important to her, but everyone's need to constantly talk about them frankly pisses her off. Lindsay Miller: Yeah. And Mindy Kaling has said much the same thing. I did plug this anecdote from the Hollywood Reporter story though, she was apparently set to appear at an event recently, and they sent her draft of the intro they had written for her; they called her the most powerful Black female show runner in Hollywood. She crossed out Black and female and sent it back to them. Allison McNamara: Laid down the law. When it comes to work-life balance, I think it's totally valid to ask what it's like to juggle both to mom and dad, it's interesting. Becca Frucht: For me the takeaway is no one is getting away with anything when it comes to Shonda Rhimes. Allison McNamara: Very true!