Shonda Rhimes Confronts Hollywood’s Diversity Problem

EXCLUSIVE -Shonda Rhimes poses with the Norman Lear achievement award in television at the 27th annual Producers Guild Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision for Producers Guild of America/AP Images)

Shonda Rhimes was awarded Saturday for creating diverse characters in her hit ABC shows, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” But the TV titan said she shouldn’t be applauded.

“It’s not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is,” she said while accepting the 2016 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television at the 27th annual Producers Guild Awards in Los Angeles, according to People magazine.

Rhimes, who created “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” and serves as the executive producer for “How to Get Away with Murder,” added that she “created the content that I wanted to see and I created what I know is normal.”

“Basically, you are just giving me an award for being me, in which case I totally deserve this. Really, I am honored to receive it,” she continued. “The respect of this award does mean the world. It just makes me a little bit sad. First of all, [writing about] strong women and three dimensional people of color is something Norman was doing 40 something years ago. So how come it has to be done all over again?”

Rhimes, 46, explained that while pitching the shows she created, she never received push back from the network.

“I have, against no odds, courageously pioneered the art of writing for people of color as if they were human beings,” she said. “I’ve bravely gone around just casting parts for actors who were the best ones.”

“See, the thing about all this trailblazing that everyone says I’ve been doing, it’s not like I did things and then the studio or the network gasped with horror and fought me. It was 2004,” Rhimes added.

Rhimes told the awards show crowd that she’d like to see more shows with diverse characters on the small screen.

“What are we waiting for? I mean, I know this is a room full of producers, so probably you’re waiting for money. Clearly, money,” she said.

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