Why Shonda Rhimes Thinks the Historic Wins at the Emmys Were 'Embarrassing'

Via Getty
Via Getty

Shonda Rhimes, along with the rest of us, watched some historic moments unfold at the Emmys on Sunday night. She saw Lena Waithe make history as the first black woman to win best writing for a comedy, Donald Glover become the first black man to win best directing for a comedy, Sterling K. Brown become the first black man in 19 years to win the Best Actor in a Drama award, and Riz Ahmed become the first South Asian man to win any acting award.


The show also included a highlight reel in which the television industry congratulated itself for the progress it has made in making TV more inclusive.

However, Rhimes, who is a three-time Emmy nominee herself, told Vanity Fair that the achievements of the recent Emmys were “embarrassing, frankly.”


“To me, it feels embarrassing that we are still in a place in which we still have to note these moments,” Rhimes said. “I’m hoping that it’s not a trend. I’m hoping that people don’t feel satisfied because they saw a lot of people win, and then think that we’re done.”

Ahmed made similar comments after he won his award.

“I don’t know if any one person’s win of an award, or one person’s snagging one role, or one person doing really well, changes anything when it comes to a systemic lack of inclusion,” he said.

Rhimes’ series Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal will return to ABC this fall. Rhimes is also working on upcoming projects for Netflix and just launched a new web site.

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