For the past couple of years, Hollywood showrunners and network executives have been trying to tap into Shonda Rhimes' magic. Over the past decade, through her production company Shondaland, she's produced shows that have found zealous followings — Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.
And though there are shows that have bitten off her style, they haven't quite captured the lightning Rhimes infuses into her original productions.
At the Human Rights Campaign Gala over the weekend, Rhimes herself gave the best explanation of the motivation that drives her. Throughout her life, she said, she felt like an outsider due to the color of her skin — she felt alone. And her stories were her escape to feel less invisible, less marginalized, and less alone. She told the audience:
You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, any one you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you.
Read Rhimes' full speech over at Medium.