NY Times Critic Gets Backlash for ‘Angry Black Woman’ Label on ‘Scandal’ Creator

Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes


*Shonda Rhimes supporters are going all out to blast the New York Times television critic who wrote an article describing the Queen of Thursday nights on ABC as an “angry black woman” and accused her of channeling that energy into the lead character(s) of her two prime time shows that star African American women.

Any yes, while many don’t seem surprised by the predictable mindset of Alessandra Stanley, the caucasian woman who wrote the article and obviously sees the portrayal of a fearless, no-nonsense, badass African American female character, such as Olivia Pope on “Scandal” and now, law professor Annalise Keating on  “How to Get Away With Murder” as an angry black woman, they do seem to wonder why it is still being given a forum.

All I can say to those asking this question is consider the source.

Stanley encased her own small-minded  perception in a quote by her liked-minded colleague Todd Leopold, a reported for CNN who wrote, ” ‘When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman,”  and later added, “Ms. Rhimes has embraced the trite but persistent caricature of the Angry Black Woman, recast it in her own image and made it enviable.’

Rhimes, who is no doubt laughing all the way to the bank, shot back on social media.

“‘Confused why @nytimes critic doesn’t know identity of CREATOR of show she’s reviewing,” she tweeted in response to a tweet from Pete Nowalk, a white man formerly staffed with “Grey’s Anatomy” before leaving to create, “How to Get Away With Murder.'”

Viola Davis as professor Annalise Keating on "How to Get Away With Murder"
Viola Davis as professor Annalise Keating on “How to Get Away With Murder”

And Rhimes didn’t stop there.

“1Apparently we can be “angry black women” together, because I didn’t know I was one either! @petenowa #LearnSomethingNewEveryday,’ she continued.

The executive producer of some of the most popular television series over the past few years also noted that Stanley had highlighted a rant from ‘Scandal’s’ Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) as an example of Rhimes’ own perceived anger, and wondered why rants by the white characters she created doesn’t get the same attention.

“‘Final thing: (then I am gonna do some yoga): how come I am not “an angry black woman” the many times Meredith (or Addison!) rants? @nytimes,’ ” she tweeted.

Kerry Washington as "Olivia Pope" on "Scandal"
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope on “Scandal”

Ellen Pompeo, the star of “Grey’s Anatomy, who plays Meredith Grey  agreed.

” ‘Didn’t Meredith Grey (Medusa) and Christina Yang also terrify and intimidate medical students?’ she tweeted. . . .”

At this point Stanley went mute, and Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy stepped in to pass along a quote from the writer: “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.”

And who started the “Tiresome but insidious stereotype?” And at what point was this so-called praise mentioned in your article?

Read more of this argument at Maynard Institute.


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