‘Scandal’ & ‘Greys Anatomy’ Creator Shonda Rhimes To Receive Diversity Award

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Shonda Rhimes is a name synonymous with diversity in Television. She is the creator of hit shows ‘Greys Anatomy’, ‘Private Practice’ and most recently ‘Scandal’. The common thread in all of those shows are that they feature strong lead female characters, many of which are from various ethnic backgrounds. Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope in ‘Scandal’ has been creating all sorts of hubbub in her lead role as an African-America woman, and the world is rejoicing because we finally see some accurate representations of the real world reflected on our TV screens.

Washington became the first African-American Emmy nominee for best actress in a drama since Cicely Tyson in 1995.

Shonda, and her producing partner Betsy Beers who created Shondaland Productions in 2004, have now been recognized for their efforts to portray a more realistic version of American life, and will be honored with the Diversity Award in 2014 from Directors Guild of America.

The award recognizes their commitment to diversity hiring, their long record of providing jobs and opportunities to women and minorities, and for the example they set for the rest of the industry, the DGA said.

“The DGA Diversity Award is an exceedingly rare honor, given only when we feel strongly that someone is making a real difference in the hiring of women and minorities,” said DGA President Paris Barclay.

“In the decade that Shonda and Betsy have been creating and producing buzz-worthy television, their record of diverse hiring has been consistently outstanding at a time when very few television series meet that standard. As a result, they have impacted the careers of dozens of women and minorities -– they’ve made stars not only in front of, but behind the camera as well.”

Another significant part of this honor is that the Diversity Award has only ever, in its entire existence, been given out four times, and all previously to men (in 1997 to Bruce Paltrow, John Wells and Christopher Chulack; in 1999 to Steven Bochco; in 2000 to HBO; and in 2005 to Stephen McPherson.)

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So not only is Shonda making history on screen, but also in her real life, proving that hard work, persistence and belief in something significant does pay off if you don’t give up. No doubt she would’ve come up against a lot of opposition in her early days as an ethnic woman in the producing world. And now she is the type of person anyone in entertainment would give up a kidney to work for.

“I am thrilled and honored to be receiving this award from the DGA,” Betsy Beers said. “We want to accurately reflect the world in which we live today — and that means ensuring that a diverse workplace exists, both on- and offscreen.”

This year, Rhimes was appointed by US President Barack Obama to serve as a trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“It has always been important that the world created in my shows look like the actual world that we live in,” Rhimes said. “I am truly honored to be receiving this prestigious award and am thankful for all of the work that the DGA does to promote diversity in our industry.”

The award will be presented at the 66th DGA Awards on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. How exciting to see more and more women changing the status quo in entertainment that will impact audiences for generations to come. Congratulations Shonda and Betsy for making the world a more diverse and exciting landscape for women everywhere!

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