“Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” creator and showrunner Shonda Rhimes isn’t just a woman of color succeeding in the upper echelons of an industry that remains very white and male, she’s also consistently presented casts and characters that represent a diversity of race, class and sexuality.
Her production company Shondaland has committed to diversity in behind the camera hires as well, which is why she and longtime producing partner Betsy Beers were selected to receive the Directors Guild of America’s 2014 Diversity Award, given in recognition of commitment to diversity hiring and providing jobs and opportunities to women and minorities in DGA-covered categories.
The award was presented at the Directors Guild of America Awards this past Saturday in Los Angeles. Rhimes, who can be wonderfully outspoken about issues of race and gender, didn’t disappoint, accepting the award by saying she and Beers were “really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award,” but “also a little pissed off.”
We’re a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award. Like, there’s such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.
It’s not because of a lack of talent. It’s because of a lack of access. People hire who they know. If it’s been a white boys club for 70 years, that’s a lot of white boys hiring one another. And I don’t believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. It’s comfortable.
You want to be successful, you don’t want to take any chances, you don’t want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us. Both Betsy and I like the world that we work in to look like the world that we live in. Different voices make for different visions. Different visions make for something original. Original is what the public is starving for.