The top Hollywood producer says some people get it all wrong when it comes to diversity
Somebody must be getting on Shonda Rhimes’ last nerve. Over the last few weeks she has been sounding off on what diversity means to her.
The superstar producer of hit television shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and “How To Get Away With Murder” says she bristles when someone suggests she should “get a writer who is diverse.”
At a recent White House summit on the underrepresentation of women in media, Rhimes said the word diversity “suggests an ‘other-ness’ to me.”
She added: “A person is not diverse. Color of skin is not what makes people diverse.” Probed further on diversity on TV, she said content on television should look like the “actual world.”
Simple as that.
Of course, the actual world we live in includes a lot of diversity, although we don’t always see diverse casts on television. Rhimes is helping change that by casting talented black actresses such as Kerry Washington and Viola Davis in leading roles. But Rhimes says she’s not thinking about “diversity” when she chooses these women.
“I get asked this question so much,” Rhimes told New York Magazine Hollywood Editor Stacey Wilson Hunt. “And it’s like, how do you create such smart, strong women? I’m like, is the alternative weak, stupid women? It’s not a goal [to create them]. They’re just people. Women are strong. I literally don’t understand the question when I’m asked. I don’t know how to write people other than being the people that they are, like the women that I know. So, it’s not a goal. It’s just reality.”
Rhimes’ recent comments about diversity on television are certainly not the first time she has stepped out on the issue. Perhaps as much as anyone in Hollywood she continues to speak out on the issue — and we’re all having more diverse conversations as a result of it.