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It’s been a big year for Shonda Rhimes, the writer and executive producer behind hit shows like Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder. It was announced last month that Rhimes would be leaving ABC to join the streaming giant Netflix, where she signed a multi-year deal as a producer for new series and other projects. Despite becoming a household name, she feels that Hollywood has a lot of work to do when it comes to inclusion.
Rhimes spoke to Latina.com about the lack of diversity onscreen. “It is a bit embarrassing to me that media and the industry hasn’t grown past itself,” she said. “Interestingly enough, what I find most shocking is that financially it’s just a giant mistake on the part of TV and movies and products to not portray, or reach out to a multitude of cultures, instead of just thinking of one kind of person and one kind of interest.”
She told the outlet that less diversity perpetuates stereotypes: “When you’re the only one of something, the tendency is that you have to represent everybody. So then you end being a stereotype or a totem, or perfect, it’s definitely frustrating.”
The prolific producer also fangirled over Latina actresses Salma Hayek and Sara Ramirez from Grey’s Anatomy. “Sara Ramirez had a lot of input and smart things to say and there was a lot of creation in that character; she really went for things,” she said. She also revealed that she was “heartbroken” when Ramirez decided to leave the show.
This isn’t the first time Rhimes has spoken out about Hollywood’s lack of diversity. While accepting the Norman Lear Achievement Award at the Producers Guild Awards last year, she urged her fellow storytellers to create more examples of strong black women in America. “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 bluntly said.