Shonda Rhimes has to be the only writer in the history of television that can make me laugh, ugly cry, angry, and excited in 60 minutes. The Shondaland trifecta has become highly acclaimed over the past decade, and as a result, she is now the highest paid showrunner in Hollywood.
Throughout history, women who scream for what they deserve and demand their respect have been labeled as "bitchy" and hard to work with, but Shonda Rhimes came to Hollywood on a mission to change that. The talented screenwriter and mother-of-three recently accepted the Luminary award at Elle's 25th Women in Hollywood Awards and refused to be modest about her earnings any longer.
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In her speech, she expressed the overwhelming pressure she feels as a woman to be humble at all times, but made it a point to express that there's a difference between humility and hiding. In her acceptance speech she told the audience:
"When I made a deal with Netflix, I let them report my salary wrong in the press and I did as few interviews as possible. Then I put my head down and worked. In other words, I hid. I'm getting this award for inspiring other women and how can I inspire anyone if I'm hiding?"
Micheal Rowe for Essence
"So, let me take a deep breath. And on behalf of women everywhere in the name of not leaving my sister hanging, I will brag. I got to say this is harder than I thought. I am the highest paid showrunner in television."
In other words, "I'm rich, b****." Shonda is a reminder to us all that with hard work and dedication, you can secure the bag and inspire some dope women along the way. Here are a few gems that #ShondaTaughtMe about building an empire during her acceptance speech:
Demand What You Deserve
As women, it's considered the ultimate insult to be labeled "demanding," but why? As women of color in the workplace especially, we are taught to be satisfied with what we are given. We comply with this notion out of fear of being mislabeled as the typical angry black woman, and eventually fall into the trap door of complacency.
In her speech, Shonda Rhimes reminded us that even though we live in a world where only men are allowed to "scream, cry, and demand," it doesn't mean that we should stop fighting.
"We are powerful women and when we say we have power, what we are really saying is that we deserve to have power. We deserve whatever good thing it is that we are getting. Demanding what you deserve can feel like a radical act."
But it's totally worth it, sis.
Own Your Bragging Rights
The ego is a tricky entity that we will probably never master. If you boast about your accomplishments, society says you must think you're all that. Let me tell you something though, girl. You are.
It's one thing to make moves in silence, but it's another to constantly dim your own light. In her speech, Shonda Rhimes said that she wants you to own your sh*t. She said:
"We just built our own mountains and then we realized all we simply had to do was equalize and include one another. I tell you this for two reasons. One, I'm awesome. And I work with a ton of other equally awesome women. And women do not brag enough. The other day I came to this conclusion that men brag and women hide."
Don't hide what the universe gave you, it might become a blessing to someone else.
Develop A Network Of Talented Women
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Michelle Obama. Regina King. Kerry Washington. Channing Dugney. Issa Rae. Viola Davis. Aja Naomi King.
These are only a few of the Hollywood powerhouses that make up Shonda's squad. She is proof that to be truly successful, you have to surround yourself with a gang of boss women who have your back no matter what. Shonda taught us that the true key to success is having a gang of boss women to uplift.
"Be a person who pulls other women, new women, different women, into your circle. Widen your circle to hold more people. Lose your judgments of who someone is based on what you've heard or what you assume."
"Make some friends. Find some new sisters. Come together, work together, brag together, be powerful together and whenever we can we should be lifting one another up because lifting someone up is what lifts us."
Generate Multiple Streams Of Success
Arnold Turner/Invision for Invision for the Television Academy/AP
At one time, Shondaland was only Shondavillage, with one lonely but brilliant inhabitant: Grey's Anatomy. What we didn't know was that Shonda was in the kitchen whipping up Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder, which would subsequently snatch all of our wigs for nearly a decade.
My point is: Shonda's empire started with one idea. Later, that one idea manifested into multiple streams of income. She recently announced the release of eight new shows on Netflix and still has us tuning into ABC every Thursday night. Having one good idea might make you rich, but having multiple streams of income will make you Shonda money.