Shonda Rhimes is focusing on the positives that have come out of the New York Times’ decision to label her an angry Black woman.
Most people wouldn’t have blamed Shonda for giving the publication a reason to call her angry after an ill-advised, poorly angled story came out last month. Women, no matter what their given profession, were offended for the “Scandal” creator that another woman would dare attempt to place her in such a category.
Tons of thinkpieces popped up online after TV critic Alessandra Stanley wrote, “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.’” That incendiary line spawned much-needed discussions about how Black women are perceived in the work place if they are simply about their business. When The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Shonda for a cover story recently, that is the positive collateral that she chooses to focus on when the whole “angry Black woman” disaster is brought up. That one piece has done something she’s been trying to spark for years!
“Some really amazing articles were written that had the conversation that I’ve been trying to have for a very long time, which, coming from me, makes me sound like I’m just, ‘Rrrraw!’” she said while pretending to scratch and claw.
Although many of her friends, colleagues and fans have demanded that the piece be retracted, Shonda doesn’t want the New York Times to touch it. She thinks it’s fine as-is because of the covert prejudice that it has exposed. “In this world in which we all feel we’re so full of gender equality and we’re a postracial [society] and Obama is president,” she said, “it’s a very good reminder to see the casual racial bias and odd misogyny from a woman written in a paper that we all think of as being so liberal.”
Being positive just seems to be part of Shonda’s nature. The “How To Get Away With Murder” mastermind told THR that when she was younger, her father would tell her that “the only limit to your success is your own imagination.”
With an entire block of programming on ABC’s Thursday night lineup, its evident that she took her dear old Dad’s words to heart. She so strongly believes in that lesson that she even thinks about the dreams she’d still love to live out.
“The idea that anything is possible really does seem true to me,” she confessed. “I still haven’t given up the idea that I could be an Olympic Ice Dancer, if I really tried hard.”