Her Rhyme Wasn’t Done.
…earlier this year, when we warned you told you about how Shonda Rhimes was going to commandeer prime time Thursday nights with addition of a [then] new pilot she was working on called “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Well time brought forth fruition, and a pilot was finally born-but not without incident.
Last Friday, the world of social media was set ablaze when [of all reputable media outlets], a New York Times television columnist (Alessandra Stanley) quipped wrote: “When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called ‘How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman’”
–followed by cutting remarks like: “that clinches it. Ms. Rhimes, who wrought Olivia Pope on ‘Scandal’ and Dr. Miranda Bailey on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ has done more to reset the image of African-American women on television than anyone since Oprah Winfrey.”
Whether or not, that was supposed to be a back-handed compliment or no, it was totally canceled out with a stab, so as to take from (African American) Rhimes’ writing/prowess and incapability to be a writer of an such an intelligent premise?:
“Ms. Rhimes is the show’s marquee muse, but the writer is a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ alumnus, Peter Nowalk.”
She dug in:
[it represents] “yet another network series from her production company to showcase a powerful, intimidating, black woman,” –that black woman being actress Viola Davis who plays a criminal defense lawyer and professor on the show.
Well, with a headline that read: “Wrought in their Creator’s Image” the God-awful remarks less than blessed the show with a critique that sounded nothing less than a columnist saying in short [in other words]: ‘Brilliant premise-a woman being a criminal defense attorney and professor. But be that as it may, (so as to change the perception of the black woman stereotype in many roles), I understand Shonda Rhimes’ incessant need to put forth the face of these figures on her shows as being represented by black women that look like her—the Olivia Popes (legal analyst/public relations fixer & strategist-Scandal), Dr. Miranda Bailey (Grey’s Anatomy), and Annalise Keating (How to Get Away with Murder); however, the actual [male] writer of the brilliant show plot and premise, is not [a black woman].’
One thing I know is certain, and two-for sure [is that] aside from what’s factual and beyond a reasonable doubt:
- everything else is relative
- everything else subject to interpretation
- everything else depends on who you ask (and their personal feelings about a person/situation/subject)
…But ask me, my interpretation is basically how it came across…my (and many other)’s summary-in breaking down the statements as published by the columnist and what she was really trying to say (although her remarks were middle-ground-ly less than “politically correct,” nonetheless).
After the backlash, Stanley said didn’t think people’s understood the “intent” of her article-stating [sarcastically-so as imply that people today barely understand/properly interpret anything past the first 140 characters–thanks to Twitter]): “The whole point of the piece — once you read past the first 140 characters — is to praise Shonda Rhimes for pushing back so successfully on a tiresome but insidious stereotype.”
In her “piece,” (like her response), her semantics, rhetoric, and word play were perfectly crafted. And unless you one had a good, keen, sense of summarization, interpretation [and use semantics themselves]; the remarks would have totally gone over your head.
But it didn’t get by Rhimes, Olivia Pope herself (Kerry Washington) and a few other cast mates under the Rhimes roster. Because in no uncertain terms should “angry black woman” be short (or lack of better words) for [quote] “powerful and intimidating.” [unquote]…nor any other adjective used to describe any successful, rich, intelligent, smart, savvy or assertive [black woman]. “Angry” doesn’t have to equate to those qualities [where black women are concerned]. For starters, therein lay the problem with her “piece.”
Needless to say, the show went on (the night of September 25), and #TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday—a social media hashtag coined by Scandal fans), watched the “creator’s image” and vision brought to life to the tune of somewhere around………..let’s say…..around the 14 million viewer mark during its 10 p.m. EST time slot, which was followed by the hit television show Scandal’s season four premiere-drawing 11.9 million viewers (its biggest Nielson ratings ever).
To add to this blessing (“Wrought in their Creator’s Image”), Grey’s Anatomy, followed by Scandal, followed by How to Get Away with Murder blessed the ABC network with its highest-rated Thursday prime-time ratings in over fives years of all shows. And too, reportedly ran with the ball of CBS’ top Thursday night football.
Don’t know if our television columnist Alessandra attended, but as our friends at Us Weekly reported, at the 2014 Television Critics Association this past July; Viola Davis, 49, spoke about what compelled her to agree to take on How To Get Away with Murder: “I dove at this role. I love the fact that she’s messy and mysterious. She’s not necessarily nurturing and ‘Come sit on my lap so I can talk to you, baby.’
She added: “She’s a woman. She’s sexual. She’s vulnerable. I wanted a character that took me out of my comfort zone”
…said the woman who once played rock-soul singing powerhouse performer (Fantasia)’s mother in Fantasia’s made for television biopic Life is not a Fairytale.
Going forward this television season, How Get Away with Murder airs Thursday nights on ABC at 10 p.m. EST following Scandal which follows Grey’s Anatomy.
….Bang (Alessandra Stanley) : )