Shonda Rhimes: Her Diversity Award Makes Her Angry

    January 26, 2014

Make no mistake: Shonda Rhimes is very happy to be receiving her Diversity Award. The honor comes by way of the Directors Guild of America Awards, which were held on Saturday evening in Los Angeles, CA.

“When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored.”

She said that she “began to get calls from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc.”, all asking for her to comment on the award. Although she and Scandal Executive Producer Betsy Beers were glad to receive the honor, Shonda Rhimes felt another emotion that others may not have anticipated.

She was angry.

“While I’m still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little pissed off. So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this.”

Rhimes explains that the anger stems from the fact that there even has to be an award in the first place.

“Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.”

Diversity remains a huge problem in the movie and television industries, as many products remain noticeably absent of minorities or suffer a lack of good leading roles for women actresses.

Rhimes has been instrumental with bringing about change with shows like “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice”, and most recently the highly popular “Scandal“.

In fact the success of Scandal on ABC may have helped influence networks to invest in shows featuring diverse casting. FOX seems to be taking the call for diversification most seriously, with shows like the wildly successful “Sleepy Hollow” and Golden Globe winning “Brooklyn 99” standing out for having noticeably ethnically diverse casts.

Though the Domino effect may be happening, more work needs to be done to open up all areas of entertainment to people based on their talents rather than limiting them based on race, gender, or other forms of bigotry.

Rhimes raises an important point, but didn’t want anyone to be mistaken in thinking she’s ungracious. Rhimes is, “proud that the DGA recognizes a problem and are trying to fix it.”

“The DGA, by the way, is the only Guild giving out this type of award in an attempt to draw attention to the problem, which I think is kind of badass.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons