Meet Shonda Rhimes first African-American woman to create and executive produce a Global Top 10 network series

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Producer, screenwriter, and author, Shonda Lynn Rhimes is a creative force to reckon with. She is celebrated as the first African-American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series, the medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy.

She is also the creator of its spin-off, Private Practice, the political thriller Scandal and the legal whodunit How to Get Away With Murder. Before these series, Rhimes penned such film screenplays as Crossroads and HBO’s Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

Shonda Rhimes was born on January 13, 1970 and is an American television producer, screenwriter, and author.

So how did she get into the Film Industry? Rhimes received her BA from Dartmouth College in English literature and creative writing. After a short stint in advertising, she enrolled in the writing for screen and television program at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, earning her MFA.

Soon after graduate school, Rhimes sold her first screenplay, Human Seeking Same, about an older black woman looking for love in the personals. The film never got made. But it did lead to her writing the 2002 feature film Crossroads, which starred notable actors like Britney Spears, Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, and 2004’s The Princess Diaries 2, which starred Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.

She also completed the teleplay for HBO’s Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, which was made into a 1999 movie starring Halle Berry as the supposed screen star, which in one way or another was a great breakthrough for her in the industry.

She is best known as the creator, head writer, executive producer – the showrunner of the television medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, a drama about a bunch of young doctors in a Seattle hospital. Premiering in 2005, the show is in its 12th season and has won her a Golden Globe for Best Television Series Drama.

It also led in 2007 to Rhimes creating the spin-off Private Practice, which lasted for six seasons and the political thriller series Scandal, all of which have aired on ABC.

Scandal stars Kerry Washington as a fixer in a Washington, D.C., crisis management firm and has plenty of political twists and turns. It garnered great ratings thanks to weekly social-media buzz while generating praise for its progressiveness.

In 2007, Rhimes was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 People Who Help Shape the World. In 2015, she published her first book, a memoir, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person.

In 2017 Netflix said that it had entered a multi-year development deal with Rhimes, by which all of her future productions will be Netflix Original series. They already had purchased streaming rights to back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, which were made available in 2017.

Her efforts in the film industry have garnered much recognition, including several GLAAD Media and NAACP Image Awards for her tackling of critical issues in terms of race and sexuality.

After the success of Scandal, Rhimes and her production company, ShondaLand, worked on developing the series ‘Lawless’ for ABC. The show revolves around an attorney who returns to her hometown and is based on the story of trucker-turned-lawyer Wynona Ward, who provides free services to domestic violence victims.

Rhimes had better luck with How to Get Away with Murder. The mystery drama stars Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating and joined ABC’s lineup for fall 2014. The series now in its second season, has seen the acclaimed Davis win a lead actress in the Emmy Awards for her role, the first African-American woman to do so.

On January 1, 2018, Shonda Rhimes was among the 300 prominent actresses, agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives that announced the launch of the Time’s Up initiative via an open letter published in The New York Times and the Spanish-language La Opinion.

Created in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations, which revealed an industry complicit in concealing the predatory behavior of powerful men.

The initiative has announced its intention to foster gender parity at studios and talent agencies, and to pressure lawmakers into introducing legislation that would penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment.

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