Shonda Rhimes is aware of television’s massive reach — and she takes that responsibility very seriously.
On Monday evening, the mega-producer was honored with the Founders Award at the International Emmy Awards, where she delivered a powerful speech about the power of TV and how recent events have forced her to think more about her influence and impact.
“I don’t often think about it, because I have not had to. People have asked me about diversity, and I chastised them,” the Scandal creator said at the New York Hilton Midtown, which is where President-elect Donald Trump was the night he won the election. “They’ve asked me about legacy, and I ignored them. They have talked to me about influence, and I changed the subject.”
However, that’s changed given the results of the presidential election. (It’s worth noting that she never explicitly says the former Celebrity Apprentice host’s name.) “A lot of people right now are scared here. They’re nervous and they’re worried: people of color, any woman who values her body and her choices, LGBTQ people, immigrants, Muslims, people with disabilities. They’re afraid that their voices will no longer be heard, and they believe that they’re gonna be silenced,” she said.
“So I never [really thought] about it, but now I’m really thinking about it: how big a reach television has, how it’s the most powerful source of communication and the world, how you see our faces and tell our stories and you care,” she continued. Along with Scandal, Rhimes also created Grey’s Anatomy and executive-produces both How to Get Away With Murder and The Catch.
She ended, “We hope; you hope. We dream; you dream. We fall; you fall. Three million viewers in 67 countries. Words have power. TV has power. My pen has power. I’m thinking about that.”
Watch the entire speech here.