Shonda Rhimes the creative force behind hit dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal recently got into a little twitter tête-à-tête over ABC Family’s new show ‘Bunheads.’

The show follows a down on her luck dancer who takes a job teaching ballet. Although Rhimes has commended the show for casting women of various sizes, she had a little critique for her ABC compadres: Where are the women of color?

After watching the show, Rhimes tweeted: “Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn’t cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?”

Rhimes’ shows are known for their diversity and she often casts actors of various ethnicities, so her jab at ‘Bunheads’ seems valid. But some of her followers didn’t feel the same way. After asking Rhimes if she only wanted her children to see actors of color on screen, Rhimes reminded her fans that all she strives for is inclusivity.

“I def don’t feel bad when my kid watches white performers. Not at all what I’m saying,” she explained, adding: “Just pointing out one issue….”

While many have discussed the lack of diversity on network television, Rhimes is in the position to actually do something about it. With her hit drama Scandal Rhimes created a primetime show anchored by a black woman (Kerry Washington). But for every role Rhimes writes and casts for minorities, her colleagues seem to be overlooking them.

So should more people with Rhimes’ stature start speaking out about the lack of diversity on network TV?

You tell us! 

  • African Mami

    Oh shit!!!! If this was by the creator of Gilmore Girls-I AM so gooiiiiing to watch it!!!! There is no black person, I don’t care. I have youtube shows for that1!

  • S.

    Not only did the show lack diversity, within the first 2 minutes of the pilot they made a point to comment of the lack of attractiveness of one of the showgirl dancers. A second later, we find out that dancer is a black girl (coincidence? Don’t think so). I think these white writers are getting bold in their attitudes against diversitpy casting.

    Sad that we’re still fighting this 2012

  • Erica

    I swear people be complaining about the dumbest stuff The story is set in a small town and blacks don’t live everywhere . Every show doesn’t need to have a token black character.

  • iQgraphics

    oh boo freakin hoo

  • Jai

    Tell ‘em how you feel Shonda!!!

  • Anon

    Sigh. You really don’t see the erasure?

  • Anon

    I didn’t see the pilot, but thank you for that information. Now I don’t feel a need to check for this show at all, and I used to/still do dance.

  • binks

    Agreed. After the “Girls” discussions of the lack of diversity on that show I took the stance of…why are we begging and groveling to be included? Why don’t we create our own or make our lack of viewership speak louder than words. And to be honest, the diversity factor is only 1 factor on if I support a show or not. Rhimes show may have the diversity factor but I don’t support her shows because I don’t like most of her characters especially the leading women “except Bailey”. I am all for diversity and seeing more people of color on tv and not in stereotypical roles but all this begging and crying is not helping because than if feels like they only included us as an afterthought.

  • Jamie

    The show featured a showgirl , Talia of mixed race, a Lebanese character named Sam and will feature two African American characters coming up.

    People need to calm down.

  • iQgraphics

    After testing out 2 ep’s of ‘Girls’ I deemed the show as wack, anyway. And the lack of black characters had nothing to do with that

  • Priceless34

    Thank you !!!

  • S.


    I didn’t watch the pilot expecting to see “diversity” in the cast. I actually don’t have a problem with it being mostly White cast (I loved Gilmore Girls and even though I didn’t know the creators of the shows are one in the same, I can totally see the similarities already)

    But that’s why that line was truly offensive to me. They could have followed the format of the show (aka, white characters only) especially in context with such an insensitive comment–

    “Half of them aren’t even pretty, Mar over there looks like Muammar Gaddafi”.

    I mean, you don’t see any non-White characters that entire episode except for that Black showgirl who gets called a Gaddafi look-a-like?

    So unnecessary

  • NOitAll

    No Shonda doesn’t need to “calm down.” She has a right to her opinion, and a well-informed opinion at that. You can disagree, but don’t ever challenge her right to say what she has to say. It’s not called “freedom of speech” for nothing.

  • Yb

    People need to express their concerns and issues with out being silenced.

  • Alexandra

    Shonda is the mother of diversity on her shows. I’m not mad her comment.
    Over time the conversation of race and TV will continually happen. Non-Whites are growing in population and some people want to ignore it. I’m willing to put the diversity conversation aside when it pertains to historical or autobiographical shows/docs/movies/etc; But be careful what you wish for. There are several shows with Black/non-White characters that are accused of displaying negative portrayals.

  • Willy

    Expecting ethnicity is as bad as disliking it.

  • Thatstlphoenix

    So….we just have to be happy about having black shows on the net only? And our young black girls and boys just have to be content in only seeing themselves on the net if at all? Because the web is where it’s at? *rubs my chin and goes back to my corner* Feeling very familiar, as if we are going backwards in time. Sucks to be black and love to read, watch tv/movies and now even getting to see yourself outside of being a token Black or biracial character that only is a comic relief, stereotype or has to fall for the epitome of beauty Mr. or ms. Anglo. *shrugs* oops, I’m talking again, my bad. I’ll shush and take it up the…never mind. Me and Shonda have issues too but I still respect what she’s done and still does, I hope this inspires her to create a show on ABCFamily and bring diversity to a lacking network. Remember when they had Raven, and Lincoln Heights….now it’s just milk in my cup and no coffee.

  • tt

    I feel like they can have they’re own show with lack of color and colored ppl can have they’re own show. people make a big deal of the most trivial things

  • Terry

    I am very very very tired of “diversity”. When I see an American who happens to be of African origns I don’t think, “Oh I see a black person.” I simply see another person. If people want to see classes of people and then emphasize that class or lack of people of that class, namely, “Hey where are the black people”, you will get diversity alright but at the same time you will create the very thing you ostensibly are trying to avoid – discrimination. Discrimination for a good reason is just as bad as discrimination for a bad reason. We are all Americans period. When I watch “Crosby” or Prince of Bel Air, I don’t think, where are all the white people. I simply enjoy watching the people. I am afraid the author is a bigot but for all the politically correct right reasons.

  • Seriously?

    +1 You said EVERYTHING I was gonna!

  • tt

    Thanks for correcting me Prof. Anon, I did not realize I was writing for academia

  • Sims

    Haven’t seen the show, but I agree that some diversity needs to be in there. I’ve been critical of some of the things Shonda Rhimes displays in her shows, but not for main casting script writing! The simple fact is that there are women of color who are ballet dancers and that needs to be accurately portrayed. Laziness or indifference, but it should be corrected.

  • Grant

    You don’t know how grateful I am that you consider everyone Americans, when it’s convenient for you. I don’t know how many times I have seen this same little line said by white folks in order to avoid a conversation or take ownership of a problem. If in fact, we were all Americans you would not even have to say it. The unpleasant truth is that to a lot of people, we are not Americans but “other” and are citizens in nomenclature only but not functionally or legitimately. When I see that line it is never said genuinely or in a way in which I can be reassured but it is always in the “shut up black people, you guys can vote so stop complaining” tone. I am tired of it. One day, we may be considered Americans but it is the attitude of people like you, selectively deciding when we are and are not Americans that keeps pushing that day back.

  • omfg

    lucky for me, i don’t watch tv, unless i encounter something on hulu i wanna watch.

    i only watch those things that don’t irritate or insult me. i don’t care about this show or most shows actually. i don’t expect them to do right by me.

    shonda is doing her own thing and, imo, she should focus on making sure her shows reflect her values AND stay on the air. talking about how white people continue to only see themselves is pointless. for the most part, they do not care.

  • Willy

    It wasn’t an insult.

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