Now this is how you tear down the angry black woman stereotype- Thank you Shonda Rhimes

Creator of hit TV series ‘Scandal’ and ‘Greys Anatomy’ has always challenged stereotypes…and this time is no different.


When you’re not busy cussing Shonda Rhimes for creating nerve-wracking, tear jacking plots that make you forget you’re just watching telly and what you’ve just witnessed isn’t actually real, you’ll be busy admiring a woman who is arguably one of the most powerful black women in Hollywood and the media in general.

She’s outspoken (how could she not be?) and in this interview with the Independent’s Sarah Hughes, she talks good game as usual on the challenges of being from two minority groups in the US media…’black’ and ‘female’.

Rhimes literally owned the ABC network for three hours in America last Thursday after premiering all three of her hit shows at back to back with Greys Anatomy, Scandal and How to get away with murder all showing on the same night.

Of the praiseworthy première’s, Rhimes dismisses as yet again, another subtle form of discrimination asking if people would have batted an eyelid if it was a man at the helm of affairs.

“It’s a wonderful compliment, although it does feel as though everybody else has had a bigger reaction to it … I find it fascinating that no one ever asks a man, for example Chuck Lorre, if they’re going to find it hard juggling three shows.”

I can’t help but wonder from her response and that of a Russian cosmonaut who was asked recently how she hoped to keep her hair and make up together while in space, if the best way to deal with questions such as these is to put it into context with a man rather than a woman being the subject and maybe then, the media would see the ridiculousness of such comparisons.

It also appears that being a successful and accomplished writer doesn’t necessarily shield you from stereotypes such as the ‘angry black woman’ as a British Nigerian playwright Bola Agbaje told me today, ‘it’s still a very big problem’ as producers and investors in the media industry (and probably generally) assume that because you’re black, and a woman- certainly you must fall into that stereotype. It’s never passion’, she said when it comes to a black woman.

Perfect example of this was when a New York Times critic Alessandra Stanley used the phrase in her review of Rhimes newest venture ‘How to get away with murder’. The critic wrongly assumed Rhimes was the creator of the show, when in fact Pete Nowalk created it and Rhimes only produced it.

Stanley began the review with the caption, “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman’.” To which Rhimes succinct reply was to tweet to Nowalk

She finishes off Stanley in a series of tweets where she questions how she can be ‘angry’ and still be a ‘romance writer’ and you just gotta love her sense of humour…it’s epic!

“Wait. I’m” angry” AND a ROMANCE WRITER?!! I’m going to need to put down the internet and go dance this one out. Because ish is getting real.”

She then said she hadn’t even read the review because “I’ve been too busy being angry and black. Also a woman. Takes up a lot of time.”


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