The 2010s Were A Golden Age for Black Women on TV

Female-driven storytelling dominated the small screen

Kui Mwai
ZORA

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Shonda Rhimes attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

InIn April of last year, audiences were left awestruck after watching the penultimate scene of Scandal’s series finale. The Shondaland golden child project, rising to fame for its otherness in storytelling and triumphant casting in Kerry Washington, wrapped up its seven-season run by flashing forward into the futures of the show’s beloved characters. The flash-forwards are tied together by two young girls, in a time that we can infer as being the future, walking hand-in-hand through the National Portrait Gallery. They’re clearly heading toward an important figure immortalized in art.

In the final moments of the series, that figure is revealed. It’s Olivia Pope (Washington), who, in the portrait dons a crisp white shirt and belted turquoise ballgown skirt. Her facial expression mimics the “fixer” look we’ve come to revere over the past six years. Her face is also framed with perfectly moisturized 3c curls. Splashed in the background are the words that begin the preamble to the Constitution. The words “We the People” stand right next to Pope, almost equal in stature.

Indeed, we are the people.

The age of whitewashed television programming is far behind us.

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Kui Mwai
ZORA
Writer for

Kenyan-American. Lover of Toni Morrison, Astrology, and Whitney Houston. I write about culture, blackness, health and love. Email: kuikmwai@gmail.com