In the article, “The Only One: A Talk With Shonda Rhimes”, author and journalist Nell Scovell highlights her conversation with producer, writer and director Shonda Rhimes about her success in creating a new standard of representation for African American characters on television. By utilizing her immense influence in the industry, Rhimes has been able to create stories that challenge existing stereotypes of Black people being portrayed as criminals or otherwise problematic characters. Through this interview, it is clear that she believes that African Americans should be represented both as fully-realized characters who exist outside of Black stereotypes as well contributing members of society who are capable of making meaningful contributions to their community (Scovell).
Rhimes speaks to having created a new normal which features complex portrayals of African Americans on television. She explains how she was intentional in writing stories that showcased the full range of experiences within the African American diaspora by focusing on telling stories about purposeful and successful individuals (Scovell). This allows viewers to engage with storylines about marginalized communities without feeling like they are just being presented with another narrative focused solely on victimhood. Additionally, Rhimes encourages other writers from diverse backgrounds to join forces so as to ensure more accurate depictions of minority groups (Scovell).
What does the article the-only-one-a-talk-with-shonda-rhimes explain to you about what is considered “normal” in portrayals of African Americans on television fiction shows
Accordingly, what is considered ‘normal’ when it comes to portraying African Americans on television fiction shows has shifted due to Rhime’s work in producing content that challenges existing tropes within media culture. Instead of relying heavily upon caricatures or tropes derived from damaging stereotypes originating during pre-Civil Rights America such as The Mammy or The Magical Negro , Rhime’s creative vision consciously shies away from emphasizing these outdated and limiting conceptions (Collins 2009). Moreover these storylines offer something different than those seen elsewhere by presenting three-dimensional portraits through nuanced character development instead depicting them strictly throughout an urban criminal lens often found within crime dramas featuring black leads (Tyson 2018).
Therefore when discussing contemporary portrayals for African Americans on TV fiction shows there has been a shift towards a more normalized view which actively seeks inclusion rather than exclusion. It could be argued that this movement is due largely in part due to Shonda Rhime’s efforts which have made strides towards creating unique narratives reflecting real life complexities while also allowing audiences access into worlds beyond stereotypical representations previously featured on small screens across America(Hicks 2017 ). Overall what can be gathered form this article then is the importance awareness around diversifying our understanding and perceptions so as limit any potential damage done those depicted via incomplete depictions typically found throughout traditional media culture .