Easy as 1-2-3? NYT’s offensive "angry black woman" article exposes bizarre Hollywood secret

Shonda Rhimes

Okay… So New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley referred to mega genius show creator/exec producer Shonda Rhimes as an “angry black woman.”

Damn, that’s some shit.

Well… technically she referred to three characters—one each from Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder—under the collective description “angry black woman.”


Oh, that’s not so—

Then said they were wrought “in her own image,” i.e., Rhimes’s.

Yikes. I’m gonna stick with my initial “Damn.”

Here’s the weird thing: the article itself is trying to praise Rhimes for shattering the “trite but persistent caricature of the Angry Black Woman” (as Stanley describes it) and yet falls smack into that very same trap. It’s almost an impressive bit of editorial contortionism.

With the entire internet blasting Stanley right now, that bandwagon looks a might bit full. Instead, I want to expose a bizarre (and extremely tangential) Hollywood secret this hullabaloo has called to my attention. Specifically…


Seriously, it’s an epidemic. When Hollywood Reporter attempted a reasonably original tack on the NYT controversy by asking 30 actors and co-workers from Rhimes’s shows how they’d describe the prolific E.P. in three words (other than “angry,” “black,” or “woman”), results included:

Kevin McKidd:
Inspirational, intuitive, deeply passionate

Jeff Perry:
Artistically subversive, remarkably inclusive

Katie Findlay:
Total badass

Bellamy Young:
Genius life-changer

Aja Naomi King:
Brilliant, capable, career woman

That’s five out of 30 who couldn’t correctly count to three! Or 96% by Hollywood math.

(17% to the rest of us. But still crazy high.)

For the record, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan said, “The readers and commentators are correct to protest [Stanley’s] story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was — at best — astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.”

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