Winning an award from the prestigious Directors Guild of America (DGA) would be a welcome feather in any writer-producer-directors cap, right? Well, if youre Shonda Rhimes, the answer isnt a simple yes or no.
When the DGA honored Rhimes and producing partner Betsey Beers on Saturday, Jan. 25, with the Diversity Award for their colorblind casting on shows like Greys Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal, Rhimes expressed appreciation, but let the entertainment community know that there is still a need for change, reports TV Guides
When I heard I was getting a Diversity Award, I was really, truly, profoundly honored. I began to get calls from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc., and I was asked to comment on the award. Asked how good I felt about the award. Asked if it made me feel like I was doing the right thing. Asked if it had been a struggle making diversity happen on my cast and crews. While I’m still really and truly profoundly honored to receive this award, but I was also a little pissed off, Rhimes is quoted as saying in Entertainment Weekly (EW). So was Betsy. So over many, many, many bottles of wine we discussed this. We’re a little pissed off because there still needs to be an award. Like, theres such a lack of people hiring women and minorities that when someone does it on a regular basis, they are given an award.
Its not because of a lack of talent. Its because of a lack of access. People hire who they know. If its been a white boys club for 70 years, thats a lot of white boys hiring one another. And I dont believe that that happens out of any specific racism or sexism or prejudice. People hire their friends. They hire who they know. Its comfortable. You want to be successful, you dont want to take any chances, you dont want to rock the boat by hiring people of color because, well, look at us, she said.
Both Betsy and I like the world that we work in to look like the world that we live in. Different voices make for different visions. Different visions make for something original. Original is what the public is starving for.
Rhimes clearly didnt want to sound ungrateful for the award, but also didnt want to lose the message, according to EWs Lindsey Bahr. So she concluded her speech which got a standing ovation on this note:
Betsy and I are truly honored and humbled that the DGA would thank our efforts. And yes, were a tiny bit pissed off that there needs to be an award, she said. Were also proud that the DGA recognizes a problem and are trying to fix it. The DGA, by the way, is the only Guild giving out this type of award in an attempt to draw attention to the problem, which I think is kind of badass.