Does Shonda Rhimes get paid to promote the swirl?


I know it’s ugly out here for black people right now. I mean, it seems like it always is. Ongoing discrimination, institutional racism, police killings, domestic violence, presidential politics … it seems like almost everything has a black person caught somewhere in the middle of it. And as a lover of black people, being a black man myself, I am rarely one to publicly question brothers and sisters unless it is a truly necessary thing. So, with that said, this year’s fall television schedule has pushed me to ask an extremely necessary question:

Is Shonda Rhimes getting paid to promote the swirl?

I mean, I won’t hate on a sister for getting paid to produce the thoughts that come out of her creative mind. The native Chicagoan’s complete ownership of ABC’s Thursday night programming is something that the Associated Press says is “unmatched in TV history.” But even with so much to celebrate, it’s hard for a brother to ignore one of a couple things that seem to be consistent in all of her shows.

There is always a black-white romantic relationship at the centerpiece of her drama. Don’t believe me? Let’s run down the list.

Dr. Webber and Dr. Grey, Dr. Avery and Dr. Kepner, and Dr. Yang and Dr. Burton on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Then you’ve got Taye Diggs and Kate Walsh’s characters on “Private Practice.” And, of course, Olivia Pope’s love affair with President Grant on “Scandal,” and now here comes Professor Keating and her husband, Tom, on “How To Get Away With Murder.”

If you must, forgive your brother for asking, but still … Shonda lovers … what’s the deal?

I know you see a pattern. And the black defender-conspiracy theorist in me says that it might not be a function of Rhimes’ preferences that have brought us this colorful display of romantic love interests. Rhimes could very well be writing stories that showcase black love that simply aren’t getting picked up by the networks. The fact that the ones that are, however, getting picked up include interracial relationships makes me scratch my head during a time where the world needs to be reminded that the black community as a whole is both worthy and capable of loving and caring for itself to the fullest extent.

So, you know, as you go about your day, and while some of us prepare for our weekly Shonda fest, give some thought to the thing that I’ve posited here. Does it pay to promote a wedge within the black community? Is the new sexy thing really a continued devaluation of black on black love? I’m not the one to say … but I am the one to think about it. Let me go grab Arsenio so that we all can say the same thing at the same time:


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