Shonda Rhimes spoke at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Hollywood Breakfast today about what it means to be Black and a woman in Hollywood. Her speech, which talks about the glass ceilings of Hollywood and how they haven’t been broken by her work, were published to Medium.
When my publicist called to tell me that I was receiving this honor, I screwed up my face and I said, “Are you sure? Me?” And he said, “Yes.” And I said, “Why?” And then I said, “No really, WHY?”
And I made him call and ask for some written reason why I was getting this award. Because I really and truly was worried that there might have been some kind of mistake.
I want to pause for a beat here to say that I don’t say these things to be self-deprecating and humble. I am not a self-deprecating, humble person. I think I’m pretty fantastic. But I also think that The Hollywood Reporter Sherry Lansing Award is extraordinary — as is Sherry Lansing herself. So…no, really, WHY?
They sent a written reason why I was getting this award. It said many nice things but the main thing that it was said was that I was getting the award in recognition of my breaking through the industry’s glass ceiling as a woman and an African-American.
Well. I call my publicist back. Because I just don’t know about this. I mean, I’m concerned now.
I come from a very large, very competitive family. Extremely competitive. And by competitive, I mean, my mother says we’re not allowed to play Scrabble anymore when we get together because of the injuries and the tears. One of the rules in my family is you don’t ever get a trophy for participation, you don’t get a trophy for just being you. So getting an award today BECAUSE I’m a woman and an African-American feels…I was born with an awesome vagina and really gorgeous brown skin. I didn’t do anything to make either of those things happen.
To get all Beyonce about it, people: “I woke up like this.”
Seriously. I know this isn’t an award because I’m a woman or BECAUSE I’m African American. I know that it’s really about breaking the glass ceiling that exists in the face of being a woman and being black in this very male, very white town.
But I haven’t broken through any glass ceilings.
Read more at Medium