Trendy TV Report: The Hollywood Reporter Examines the Genius of Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes is a woman who refreshingly has nothing to be angry about, and if she does it’s because of the nonsensical opinions levied on her by the likes of New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley, whose recent essay caused quite a stir due to it’s challenged reference to the “angry black woman syndrome”.
Stanley tried in vain to use Rhimes as a vehicle against the damaging cliché by claiming that if Rhimes were to ever attempt an autobiography, it should be titled “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman”. That obviously didn’t go over well with Rhimes or the public at large. And to make matters worse, the crucified author made an insulting observation regarding Viola Davis, Rhimes latest leading lady and the star of ABC’s newest hit, How to Get Away with Murder, describing her as “less classically beautiful”.
Amidst all the craziness, Rhimes has managed to maintain a level head by focusing on her expanding empire while providing us with the memorable characters stewing in her brilliant offerings. From Grey’s Anatomy to Scandal, Rhimes is populating Primetime TV with evidence of her uncanny ability to deliver what the masses crave. This is probably why she opts to retaliate using her status as the “Top Dog” of television instead of engaging in senseless banter.
Rhimes recently opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about her enviable rise to the top. And as with all success stories, the trajectory usually starts from the bottom with established toiling and relentless dedication until the steady stream of recognition is endorsed. Her early days as a writer gave birth to the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Oscar-winner Halle Berry who also nabbed a Golden Globe for her performance. Rhimes also lent her skills to the Britney Spears starrer, Crossroads. She has come a long way baby! And along the way, the much-lauded scribe has kept her scruples intact even when tested by the ones who benefited from her genius. Case in point, actress Katherine Heigl, who is remembered for the ultimate diss heard around the world when she rejected her Emmy nomination for her role in Grey’s simply because she didn’t feel it was deserved. In other words, she challenged her boss’ ability to give her character the depth required for such an honor. Heigl exited the show in 2010 and her relationship with Rhimes has remained stale at best.
Such is the world of Hollywood, you can’t win them all – but Rhimes is certainly not lacking fans especially as her popularity grows and she continues to produce quality shows that have a tendency to hold the Twitterverse hostage on Thursday nights. Despite the fact that her race and gender is a constant reference, Rhimes prefers to be seen as a power player who is respected because of her hard work and diligence. When she read a draft notice for an upcoming event that labeled her “the most powerful black female showrunner in Hollywood”, Rhimes swiftly removed “female” and “black”. That pretty much sums up the woman who is proving without a doubt that she can hang with the best of them.