Shonda Rhimes Addresses Being Mischaracterized as an ‘Angry Black Woman’
Calls out The New York Times on social
By Michelle Castillo
Shonda Rhimes is calling out The New York Times for an article that suggested the Grey’s Anatomy creator is an “angry black woman,” and that she’s taking advantage of the stereotype to fuel the success of her shows, including the upcoming ABC series How to Get Away With Murder.
The article—which opens with the line “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman”—claims that her upcoming law school drama will feature a strong African-American female lead and that the showrunner has followed a similar formula on her other hit shows, including Scandal.
Rhimes rightfully took issue with the Times’ assertions and sounded off on Twitter.
While it is true that sometimes Dr. Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) from Grey’s and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) on Scandal get frustrated, the same can be said about anyone on her shows—regardless of race or gender. In addition to anger, they also experience other emotions like elation, fear and, as Grey’s calls it, being “dark and twisty.” Grouping the characters as enraged people couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is extremely emotionally volatile: It’s what makes compelling primetime drama.
That’s not to mention that while Bailey is one of the featured characters on Grey’s, the main character on the show is its namesake, Dr. Meredith Grey. And she’s a white woman. Private Practice was about Dr. Addison Montgomery, who was also a white woman. The four main stars of her other short-lived medical drama Off the Map were Caucasian, Hispanic and African-American. To suggest she only highlights black women on her shows is simply not true.
Plus, there’s this glaring inaccuracy: the Times’ TV critic suggested that Rhimes created How to Get Away with Murder. She didn’t. Pete Norwalk came up with the show’s concept, and he happens to be a white man. Rhimes is a producer on the series.