How a NYTimes Critic Created an ‘Angry Black Woman’ Firestorm


30 of Shonda Rhimes’ Stars Respond to Alessandra Stanley Column

11:09 AM PDT 9/22/2014 by Lesley Goldberg,

Washington Wilson Davis - H 2014Kerry Washington, Chandra Wilson and Viola Davis





It’s nearly impossible to describe Shonda Rhimes, the prolific producer behind Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, in only three words. But that effectively is what happened Friday when a New York Times feature designed to put the spotlight on Rhimes’ ability to break down stereotypes essentially reduced the prolific showrunner to an “angry black woman.”

.The story went viral — for all the wrong reasons. The article, which referenced black characters like Grey’s Anatomy‘s Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), Scandal‘s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and How to Get Away With Murder‘s Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), sparked an immediate response from Rhimes. “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 wrote. The backlash stretched beyond Rhimes, with Shondaland stars including Josh Malina and Bellamy Young expressing their dismay at the story.

.With stars and producers from all three shows gathered Saturday night in Hollywood to kickoff the fall’s Shondaland “TGIT” programming block, The Hollywood Reporter asked more than 30 stars to describe Rhimes in three words — other than “angry black woman.” Here’s what they said.

Kerry WashingtonScandal

Brilliant, compassionate, courageous

Chandra WilsonGrey’s Anatomy
Writer, shy, decisive

Viola DavisHow to Get Away With Murder
Innovative, courageous, visionary

Kevin McKiddGrey’s Anatomy
Inspirational, intuitive, deeply passionate

Bellamy YoungGrey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal
Genius life-changer

Tom VericaGrey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder
Beautiful, gifted, powerful

Caterina ScorsoneGrey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Kaleidoscopic, nuanced, compassionate

Betsy Beers, Shondaland partner
Gracious, brilliant, entertaining

Paul AdelsteinPrivate Practice, Scandal
Generous, genius, writer

Jessica CapshawGrey’s Anatomy
Brave, powerful, kind

Jeff PerryScandal, Grey’s Anatomy
Artistically subversive, remarkably inclusive

Kate BurtonGrey’s, Scandal
Amazing, storyteller, maverick

Sara RamirezGrey’s Anatomy
Ambitious, leader, brilliant

Scott FoleyGrey’s Anatomy, Scandal
Creative, sexy ga


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