Shonda Rhimes has a bone to pick with the word "diversity."
Speaking at The Human Rights Campaign Gala in Los Angeles on Saturday evening, where she accepted the Ally for Equality award, the prominent television writer and producer explained that "diversity" suggests something rare or "other." Instead, Rhimes says her aim is to "normalize" television: "I am making TV look like the world looks."
Unfortunately, that's still somewhat rare in the entertainment industry (and other industries--tech, anyone?) But the demographics of prime-time TV have been improving, in large part due to the influence of Rhimes and her blockbuster shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.
Rhimes has been widely praised for featuring women, people of color, and LGBT characters in the shows that she writes and produces through her Shondaland production company. Her TV dramas have won Emmys and Golden Globes, and Rhimes herself is a three-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award, among many other honors.
In her speech Saturday, Rhimes recalled feeling alienated as a child, and so now wants to help her viewership feel more included: "You are not alone," she repeated throughout her remarks.
Rhimes ultimately acknowledged that society is far from where it needs to go: "We are only on the edge of change," she continued. "I'm going to accept this award as encouragement and not as accomplishment. I don't think the job is finished yet."
You can read the speech in its entirety over at Medium.