Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author of the following article and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions of EURweb or any employee thereof.
Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers have been writing partners for quite some time. These gals have reached the pinnacle of success in their field as co-producers of three inconceivably popular television shows, “Private Practice,” Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Scandal.” Rhimes has three adopted children and isn’t married. Beers hasn’t gone public with a spouse. Might there be more to this partnership than meets the eye?
*This observation won’t earn me any points with black women, but I’m going to say it anyway.
The great Shonda Rhimes is nothing but a white-loving sellout. Yup, I said it.
While other black writers and producers have toiled at the expense of their own success to erase stereotypes attached to people of color, Rhimes selfishly produces content that elevates white characters above their black counterparts.
As a result, she has gained a permanent seat at the white man’s table.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Rhimes stuffing her bank account with whitey’s money. However, in my opinion, she is either blissfully unaware, or consciously ignoring, the glaring need for positive examples of black romance on television (of which there are very few if any at all). Perhaps in her mind, black love is such a farcical concept that it exceeds the realm of fantasy. Or maybe she secretly wants to be a white woman, which would certainly provide her with added perks. Regardless of what the reasons may be, it’s time for her to cough up an explanation.
I’m not oblivious to the fact that America has become increasingly diverse over the years, and I understand the logic behind creating shows that reflect this reality. However, it has been disturbing to witness so many black men and women intentionally abandon their own race in exchange for companionship with persons from other backgrounds.
I’m not suggesting that Rhimes should fight against social progress. However, she is in a profound position to create positive images of black families on her shows to combat the notion that people of color aren’t capable of sustaining healthy, lasting partnerships. Unfortunately, Rhimes has chosen to go in the other direction; she is happily eating from the palms of white hands, producing content that favors their interests instead of those belonging to her own people.
I’m sure that during a private meeting with ABC executives, she was “encouraged” to stroke the sensibilities of the network’s predominately white audience. In order words, she was probably given a tacit, but firm, warning: “too much black on one show equals poor ratings.” This rule applies to “Empire,” “Blackish,” and Fox’s newest addition “Rosewood”—all of these shows, though currently flourishing, will eventually cave beneath the pressure of lackluster viewership (it’s only a matter of time).
Network pressure isn’t the only reason behind Rhimes apparent aversion to depicting black love on her shows. In my estimation, she is using her platform to send a clear message to her viewers.
Here are a few examples:
1. Isaiah Washington and Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)
Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke) and Sandra Oh (Dr. Christina Yang) played on screen lovers during the first few seasons of Grey’s anatomy. They split due, in part, to Washington’s abrupt departure from the show. Although this love affair blazed a path for other intermixed on screen couples, it may have resonated more with viewers to see a young, handsome, successful black man in a relationship with an equally successful black woman.
2. Audra McDonald and Grant Show (Grey’s Anatomy)
In “Private Practice,” Dr Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) pals around with her best friend and godmother of her child Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh). After she divorces from her husband Sam (Taye Diggs), a love affair sprouts between her and Addison’s white brother Archer Montgomery (Grant Show). Talk about luck! In “Shondaland,” black women enjoy unconditional acceptance in the white community. Perhaps that’s what Rhimes wants, but will never have, in real life: White approval.
3. Geffri Maya Hightower and Stephen Lunsford (Grey’s Anatomy)
In the final season of “Private Practice,” Maya Bennett ( Geffri Maya Hightower) gets married to the father of her young child ( Stephen Lunsford). As you can see, the blushing bride is tying the knot with…yup, a white guy. But she wasn’t the only character stricken with jungle fever on the show. It happened to her on-screen mother Dr. Naomi Bennett (Audra McDonald) and father Sam (Taye Diggs). After getting divorced, they both sampled white meat on more than one occasion. Really, Shonda? The whole damn family!
4. Taye Diggs and Kate Walsh (Private Practice)
This isn’t surprising, Taye Diggs will always have his lips pressed against a white woman (even on television).
5. Columbus Short and Nazanin Boniadi (Scandal)
When Harrison Wright, (played by Columbus Short), finally reunited with a former flame in season two of Scandal, there were probably some people watching who scratched their head in confusion. Even in the world of fantasy, successful black men apparently aren’t checking for black women. (Or maybe that’s just in “Shondaland”)
6. Jessie Williams and Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy)
On the long-running television medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” Dr. Jackson Avery (Jessie Williams) is married to one of his co-workers: a redhead with skin as white as powdered snow (Sarah Drew). (Okay, i’m exaggerating. But she’s still a white girl). Apparently in “Shondaland,” black men (from lightest to darkest) prefer cream in their coffee. This season, Dr. Avery’s marriage is on the rocks. But that’s okay, if things don’t work out between him and his make-believe wife, he can always scour the hospital for another white woman. I’m sure Rhimes will write one into the storyline.
7. Alfred Enoch and Kate Findlay (How to Get Away With Murder)
During the first season of ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” Wes Gibbons (Alfred Enoch) falls in love with a pale white girl covered in dark makeup and body piercings (Kate Findlay). Oh yeah, she was also a murder suspect. Gibbons, a law student, risked his own life and academic future to protect this woman from being punished for a crime he believed she didn’t commit. I wonder if he would’ve gone to the same lengths for a black girl. Probably not in “Shondaland.” And if you’re wondering, no, Gibbons (Enoch) is not black, he’s Brazilian. But that’s close enough.
8. Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn (Scandal)
Olivia Pope, (Kerry Washington), melts into silly putty whenever she’s in the presence of President Grant (Tony Goldwyn). I could go on for days about Rhimes’ decision to make POTUS a white guy on her show (total disrespect to Obama). But what’s more disturbing is Pope’s obsession with Grant. When they interact, she morphs from being a “gladiator” to a helpless lapdog. It’s as if Rhimes is cramming the idea of black women running into the arms of white men down the throat of her viewers. Meanwhile, last season, Pope was a total bitch to her black father. Go figure.
9. Kerry Washington and Scott Foley (Scandal)
When Olivia Pope wasn’t busy screwing the white president of the United States (that’s for a different story), she skipped into the arms of mysterious government agent Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), a white guy. Apparently, in “Shondaland,” black women can’t get enough of the “swirl.” This would’ve been a perfect role for someone like Derek Luke, Lorenz Tate, or even Blair Underwood. Oh well.
10. Viola Davis and Tom Verica (How to get Away With Murder)
During the first season of ABC’s legal drama “How to Get Away With Murder,” Annalise Keaton, (Viola Davis), was the domineering wife of a white adulterer Sam Keating (Tom Verica). Not to be made a fool, the crafty attorney carried out her own extramarital affair with a hulking black police officer. At the end of season one, she framed him for murder. In “Shondaland,” black men always lose.
11. Viola Davis and Famke Jennsen (How to Get Away With Murder)
Annalise Keaton, (played by Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis), buried her white husband after he was tragically murdered during season one of “How to Get Away With Murder.” Fortunately she has been able to rebound. The show revealed that she was in a prior relationship with a lesbian bombshell (Famke Jennsen)…who, incidentally, is white. They rekindled their union during a recent episode of the current season. Apparently, black women in “Shondaland” enjoy getting frisky with white men…and white women. One would think that since Annalise swings both ways she would at least get busy with a sister.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blogs: www.coryhaywood.webs.com and corythewriter.blogspot.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood