I’ve been following the NY Times article ‘Wrought in Rhimes Image’ by Alessandra Stanely and her classifying Rhimes and her black female characters as ‘angry black women’. Honestly, I’m a huge fan Rhimes because she is in the place I would love to be and she hasn’t let excuses hinder her writing. I could be jealous but I’m not, I’m proud.
I’m no huge fan of Olivia Pope because I feel she’s milestones away from being ‘an angry black woman’ and just a big cry baby. Every time I tune in her lips are trembling and she is about to have yet another crying moment, complicated she is, torn, yes but angry, no.
Stanley did the automatic stereotypical dismissal of black women in Rhimes show by throwing that tag out like it was fact. I honestly don’t believe she watches Rhimes characters. Maybe, she is the one who is jealous. Stanley article is largely dismissive of Rhimes as if she were not a real player in this game. I could be shocked but I’m not. Stanley sounds more threatened by Rhimes and her characters. She specifically took aim at a new character in the series How to Get Away with Murder (airs tonight on ABC) played by Viola Davis as ‘less classically beautiful’. She described this dark skinned African woman as 1. the angry black woman and 2. less classically beautiful.
Quote:The actress doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama,” Stanley wrote. “Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than [Kerry Washington], or for that matter Halle Berry, who played an astronaut on the summer mini-series Extant.”
It almost sounds like a big high five then it doesn’t. When I think of classically beautiful, yes I may think of Kerry Washington but I also think of Viola Davis because she in her speech, in her demeanor, in her gracefulness DEFINES classically beautiful. Stanley is actually doing to black women what we have done to ourselves by publically acknowledging our definition of beauty being somewhat lighter skin with straighter hair. I’m happy there is backlash against this whole article that was nothing but undercurrent digs at not only Rhimes but black women.
I am proud that we are learning to define ourselves and start to tear down the walls of what is beautiful and the stereotype of the angry black woman.