Rhimes’ Scandal sends people to hell. This was the statement made by callers on Chicago’s AM 1390 gospel show, known for its power and praise of the Lord. This came following the season premiere of America’s most watched primetime show with ratings soaring higher than the heavens. I myself was shocked and appalled to hear people so full of hatred.The calls just kept pouring in of people with their bibles all in a bunch that Scandal should not be watched by Christians because God was not pleased with that program. God does not like cheaters, they explained. I mean these people spewed all kinds of vitriolic venom as if they themselves were the snake of Eden. These churchgoing folk had a problem with the story line. Had a problem with a Black woman sleeping with a White man. Had a problem with the show’s popularity. They had a problem with the amount of Tweets and FB posts people make about Scandal. “That energy should be used for the Lord!” they demanded.
I found myself overtaken by anger, frustration, grief, and sadness all at once. I just sat there speechless thinking, people really are ignorant. The same bible they are using to reference for those they believe are hell bound is the same one that could actually teach them something, for truly, as the bible states, “The people perish for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4: 6)
I mean, these same religious folk who have taken their stand against this program might be surprised to learn Shonda Rhimes is actually a Chicago native! Never mind their religious views about the program. Let’s show some love to one of our own. But you see, I’m almost willing to bet, if I were a gambling person, that they have no clue about the creator, director, or writer of the program.
Yes, Shonda Rhimes is a 43-year old screenwriter, director, and producer . So church folk: You know how you’re always needing funds for your church project, building fund, Pastor’s anniversary or birthday or whatever this or that event thing is that you ALWAYS need money for? Well, Shonda Rhimes could actually be a blessing to you and your ministry because she happened to do something many of you haven’t done, and that is, she went to school, lived her dream, and is a success. Can you believe it? Somehow amid everything people have to say about Chicago and gangs and crime and education and Black kids and the short end of the stick, Shonda Rhimes made it. We can all learn from her. We should all celebrate her accomplishments.
As for the story line and the superb writing of the show, these same church folk might be surprised to learn that we have come a looooong way from the days of Beulah played by Ethel Waters in 1939. In those days, you couldn’t find a Black person doing anything positive on television, unless you call dancing like Sambo with a painted face an accomplishment. Which it was not. At that time, the NAACP boycotted programs like these until they were no longer aired. But here’s a newsflash church folk: the NAACP ain’t boycotting Scandal. You mean to tell me that you bible thumpers are smarter than them too?
But I get it. Just like Ecclesiastes teaches, there is nothing new under the sun and there is also nothing new about these kinds of people. When you think about it, these are the same Pharisaical people Jesus encountered. They (think they) know the law. They (think they) know the commandments. They (think they) know everything. Except history.
Here’s what you must not know. The NAACP awarded Kerry Washington Outstanding Actress in a TV series this past February, and the show also won Outstanding TV Series.
With that being the case, it would seem to me that instead of condemning and indicting folks, the church could actually use the popularity of this program to minister to others as a teachable moment. Seems to me to be a no brainer for others to see that while affairs can be hot and steamy, they are actually complex and complicated and a perfect example of why to strive to live a godly life.
If you ask me, Jesus made all of this so simple for us by summing up all the commands in which love is the center of it all.
I love the accomplishments African Americans have made in television since the first airing of The Ethel Waters show in 1939 and I proudly celebrate the fact that I watch Scandal and love Washington’s role as Olivia Pope. Any sane person would be proud to see a young, smart, talented, gifted, flawless, sharp, educated BLACK woman light up prime time television knowing that behind the scenes another BLACK woman created the show!
And in case the nice message about love didn’t help drive the point, let us not forget the speck and the plank. Yes, please go back and review THAT parable in the gospels, because it’s an important one, because if I’m not mistaken, was that Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” I heard playing as your ring tone Sister So and So? I mean, that is YOUR song right Brother? Oh you just slide away on that. So now let me help you with something. Go watch that video on youtube but prepare your holy eyes. I wouldn’t want you to be surprised by the possibility of folks sliding around in hell to that tune.
I’m Elana Anthony, and I’m a proud Scandal watcher, and lover of the Lord. Now turn to your neighbor and let ’em know that it’s nothing you can do about that!