Shonda Rhimes: People of Color are NEVER Anybody’s Sidekick in Real Life

Shonda Rhimes confronts the film industry's lack of diversity and it's pretty inspiring.

At the Producer Guild Awards, Shonda Rhimes accepted the Norman Lear Award for Achievement in Television. And Rhimes took complete ownership of her success in a way we rarely see in Hollywood. “I’m going to be totally honest with you,” Rhimes told the audience, “I completely deserve this.” Shonda Rhimes DFree / As she delivered her acceptance speech on Saturday night, Rhimes highlighted her efforts to create more opportunities for non-white actors. Via Vulture:

“I have, against the odds, courageously pioneered the art of writing for people of color as if they were human beings. I’ve bravely gone around just casting parts for actors who were the best ones. I fearlessly faced down ABC when they completely agreed with me that Olivia Pope should be black. And I raised my sword heroically and then put it down again when Paul Lee never fought me about any of my storytelling choices.”

Rhimes insisted that the impact of her work was not to create a fictional world, but represent the world we live in:

“There was no blazing and no trails...It’s not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is. Women are smart and strong. They are not sex toys or damsels in distress. People of color are not sassy or dangerous or wise. And, believe me, people of color are never anybody’s sidekick in real life.”

People of color are not sassy or dangerous or wise. And, believe me, people of color are never anybody’s sidekick in real life.

Shonda Rhimes also calls out other producers to create more diverse content:

“I created the content that I wanted to see and I created what I know is normal. So basically, you are giving me an award for being me, in which case I totally deserve it. Really, I am honored to receive it. The respect of this award does mean the world. It just makes me a little bit sad. First of all, strong women and three dimensional people of color is something Norman [Lear] was doing 40 something years ago. So how come it has to be done all over again? What are we waiting for? I mean, I know this is a room full of producers, so probably you’re waiting for money.”

Is Shonda Rhimes right? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!

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