I grew up at a time when it was an anomaly to see people who looked like me on TV.
When you don’t feel seen or heard, you don’t feel validated or valued. That was the ultimate lesson and prevailing thread of truth from 25 years of Oprah shows.
Shonda Rhimes, creator of the must-see TV thriller Scandal, validates our story — the human story of faults and fears, loneliness and loss, triumphs and often short-lived joys. She gets us — all of us!
Shonda is a storyteller for our times. Courageous in her approach to the work, she’s never played by other people’s rules. Eight years ago, she introduced us to Grey’s Anatomy with an African-American chief of surgery and an Asian character with leading plotlines. Gay, straight, single, divorced, lost, searching — everybody gets a seat at Shonda’s table.
She creates an assemblage of worldly foibles and aspirations. She understands that every dream is valuable and every identity deserves inspection through the looking glass of television.
“She knows the power of reflection and wields that power with grace and generosity,” Scandal star Kerry Washington told me. “Shonda allows for more people than ever before to see themselves and feel as though the world sees them too.”
Winfrey is the chairwoman and CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network
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