My Last Scandal Blog
This is my last Scandal blog.
After seven seasons, Scandal has finally come to an end.
Excuse me as I pour some out.
This is a big deal.
I cut my teeth writing Scandal recaps on this blog in October 2014 because I was OBSESSED with the show. The DC political scene was a world that I knew, but more importantly, Olivia Pope was a woman whom I knew. And for all of the controversy about Olivia being the black mistress of a white president - a black woman being the lead, the boss, and the love interest on a show was revolutionary.
I started live-tweeting and FB-posting about Scandal while I was still living in DC -- spoiling the show for all of my friends on the West Coast.
Then I started writing full episode recaps on this blog.
Then The Root saw those recaps and hired me to write my Scandal recaps for them. This was my first paid comedy writing gig as I transitioned from lawyer to TV writer.
Fun Fact: I wrote over 80 Scandal recaps for The Root between 2014 and 2017. That's approximately 80 Thursday nights that I watched a new episode of Scandal and filed a recap by 7 a.m. that next morning.
Even More Fun Fact: In 2018, one of the most prominent showrunners in Hollywood requested a meeting with me because, as he told me, he had been tracking my career since I started writing for The Root. * head exploding * Thanks, Scandal!
It really came full circle when I was hired as a staff writer on Chelsea Handler's Netflix show, Chelsea, and I was assigned to our Scandal dinner party episode. When Scandal actresses Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, Darby Stanchfield, and Katie Lowes started talking about how Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington kicked open doors for black women in Hollywood, I wept silently on the other side of the monitor.
Here's the thing. Shonda and Kerry ran a coup on this town. There's literally a "Before Scandal" and an "After Scandal." Suddenly, people and shows that had never hired a black woman before were looking at black women, who, by the way, had been here all along.
After Scandal, there was a palpable shift. You could see it in front of and behind the camera, e.g., Blackish. Empire. HTGAWM. SNL was suddenly looking at black women. In 2014, Amber Ruffin became the first black woman (and woman of any color) who got hired as a comedy writer for a network late night comedy show. I got hired as a late night comedy writer in 2016.
Shonda and Kerry changed the game.
As Buzzfeed's Sylvia Obell wrote in her Scandal post-mortem:
[T]here have been more black women leads on network TV in the six years since Scandal’s debut than ever in history, suggesting that increasing blackness on television may be OPA’s greatest 'fix' of all.
In fact, I give credit to Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington for me getting my shot at being a working TV writer today.
Words can't adequately express my gratitude to them.
They go down in the history books.
P.S. If anyone's feeling nostalgic about Scandal after the finale, check out the Chelsea Scandal dinner party on Netflix. Kerry, Bellamy, Darby, and Katie will give you all the feels.