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Last week, New York Times’ TV critic Alessandra Stanley “attempted” to write a review for ABC’s upcoming Shonda Rhimes––produced show How to Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis. In her article entitled  “Wrought in Their Creator’s Image,” Stanley labeled Rhimes and her characters as the “angry Black woman.”

Stanley also went on to insult the gorgeous and extremely talented Actress Viola Davis:

“Ignoring the narrow beauty standards some African-American women are held to, Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry.”

The article spawned two Twitter hashtags, #IWasAnAngryBlackWoman and #LessClassicallyBeautiful and a petition demanding for a retraction and apology from the New York Times for the harmful article.

Color of Change Petition Letter:

This is the letter we’ll send to the New York Times on your behalf. Feel free to leave a personal comment in the space provided.

Dear New York Times,

Alessandra Stanley’s recent op-ed “Wrought in their Creator’s Image: Viola Davis plays Shonda Rhimes’ latest heroine” dismisses both Shonda Rhimes and her many fascinating and complex Black women characters as simply “angry Black women,” and offensively judges their adherence to white beauty standards.

With so few high profile Black women onscreen or behind the scenes in Hollywood, Stanley’s perpetuation of these harmful stereotypes is no laughing matter at all. Research shows there are dire consequences for Black people when such harmful archetypes rule the day; less attention from doctor’s, harsher sentences from judges, and discriminatory hiring practices, just to name a few.

It is unacceptable for your publication to disseminate such dangerous rhetoric. The article never should have been printed in the first place.

We demand an apology from your publication, as well as Alessandra Stanley, and the immediate retraction of her piece.

Sincerely,

{your name}

Check out the amazing celebrity tweets and responses!

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  • noirluv45

    I was watching, “New One Now” about this topic today, and the panel discussed how exhausting it is to have to continually fight the ignorance that people like to throw on us.

    They spend a huge amount of time thinking about, examining, and coming up with their own stupid conclusions about how we are. It’s tiring…very tiring.

    BTW, so what if we are angry? Humans get angry sometimes. Is there a rule that says a Black woman can’t get angry? SMH.

  • 1989

    So many things upset me about this. From the fact that this racist white woman still sees nothing wrong with this piece of garbage she wrote, to the fact that the Time’s managing executive editor is a black man, to the fact that young black women who are upset Scandal’s plot isn’t going the way they want (the main character isn’t screwing her married lover anymore) are cosigning this BS, to the fact that by simply defending herself Rhimes is being said to be confirming the ABW stereotype.

    Let’s not forget that the writer also pegged Nicole Beharie from Sleepy Hollow as a ‘sidekick’, though she and the male lead are equally the stars of the show. I guess next to white man all she could ever be is a sidekick…

    There is literally no emotion a black character can display but grateful servitude that Whites won’t find some problem with.

    • ALM

      “There is literally no emotion a black character can display but grateful servitude that Whites won’t find some problem with”.

      Yep, and that is true in real life. You can have a 3.8 average, and some white people think you should be grateful to have a similar scholarship to the white students. Nope, I earned this mess. I’m grateful to God for helping me study. I earned this scholarship, and I don’t owe these folks any gratitude.

  • ALM

    Everyone, we really need to get on one accord to determine the correct response to these types of insults.

    I feel as if we are on a racial merry-go-round, where any mediocre writer can gain instant fame at the expense of Black Americans.

    The cycle never stops. We get up in arms about some crazy article or biased “study”, and the person who offended everyone gets famous for two weeks. Sometimes the person is fired, and other times the person seems to be punished but ultimately is praised (see: Don Imus).

    There is too much racism in this country for us to stay on this merry-go-round. Either we need to form a watch group that isn’t liable to sell out for money (see: The Los Angelos branch of the NAACP accepting money from Donald Sterling), or we need to start ignoring this stuff.

    People are getting their blood pressure up every week, but these folks are gleefully continuing their racist ways and racist thinking.

    Someone needs to come up with a real set of solutions, because getting upset online is not breaking the cycle.

  • jess

    It is very irresponsible of NYTimes to release this article knowing that it has missed many marks, its poorly written and not to mention ridiculous.

    Letting these false notions of “all Rhymes is and writes about angry black women” not only so wrong, but disappointing and transparent that NYtimes just wanted this to circulate and piss off women everywhere.

    Next time you want a popular article to circulate, write the truth. Because the truth is Rhymes and other strong black women actresses are rising and gaining recognition for their talent. And if you can not handle it, try not to mask your feelings and write this false nonsense and go get a life.

  • @1989 Finally! A black woman with the same perspective. Especially, with Scandal and a black woman in the roll of jezebel (if I point that out to most black women I get looked like I have 10 heads). I so love Sleepy Hollow, it’s different on so many levels and Nicole Beharie is certainly an equal lead.