The “Scandal” Effect: Black Women on Television

(Top: Meagan Good in Deception. Bottom: Kerry Washington in Scandal. Credit: NBC, ABC)

Today I had a flash of brilliance. The show Deception (originally Infamous and Notorious), starring Meagan Good, is coming to NBC this January. The show was announced around the same time ABC’s Scandal was set to come for its second season, I believe. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the fact that Deception even made it past the pilot phase is all thanks to Scandal and Shonda Rhimes.

Rhimes is one of the top producers in television, and probably the only Black female producer (aside from juggernaut Oprah Winfrey) making the kind of bank she’s making. She’s also extremely smart to use her extreme clout to create a show that has a black woman as the lead.

Scandal is the first network show in 30 years to feature a black female lead in past I did some research concerning this, since there have been shows like Hawthorne who have featured black female leads. After some research, I think what “network TV” means is the Big Four–ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. I knew there was an imbalance in television when it came to black representation, but I didn’t know it was this dire until Scandal resurfaced. Now, the show and Rhimes have single-handedly changed the game for black actresses trying to make it in entertainment.

The success of Scandal has made it even more of a lucrative idea to other producers. Finally, black women are being looked at as viable candidates for leads. Well, maybe not finally–we have yet to see how many other black female-led shows there will be after Deception, but the tide is shifting, I can feel it.

Also, I’m just happy for Meagan Good to finally get in a production that can garner her talents. I guess Steve Harvey’s Think Like a Man is also up for some thanks, since the huge box office gross has not only propelled her career, but also that of Kevin Hart’s to an astronomical degree.

To close: I’m glad to see black women owning it on their shows and I’m glad to see Hollywood slowly (achingly slowly) realize that minorities can bring in audiences and tons of money.

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