Shonda Rhimes proved long ago that she is a force to reckon with.
The growing influence she has had in television has not gone unrecognized and has resulted in a major boost for ABC’s Thursday night network ratings. However, more importantly, Rhimes -- who is the mastermind behind shows like "Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy" and "How To Get Away With Murder" -- has increased onscreen representation of diverse roles that were once overlooked and in doing so, has raised further awareness on issues related to LGBT, women and people of color.
Because of her stellar contributions to the medium, Rhimes was honored with the Ally for Equality award at this year’s annual Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles on Saturday.
After accepting the award, she delivered a searing speech and discussed why she decided to tell such a wide range of stories and how the direction she has taken with her shows is one that goes far beyond just diversifying television.
"I really hate the word 'diversity,' it suggests something…other. As if it is something…special. Or rare," Rhimes said. "As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV."
"I have a different word: NORMALIZING. I’m normalizing TV."
Rhimes - who also received a Diversity Award during last year’s Directors Guild of America Awards -- went on to share why her approach to "normalizing" television speaks to her larger mission at hand: "Making TV look like the world looks."
"Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL," she said.
"The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them."
Well said, Shonda, well said.
Read more of Shonda Rhimes' speech here.