'Grey's' creator: Where's the diversity on 'Bunheads'?
June 14th, 2012
12:15 PM ET

'Grey's' creator: Where's the diversity on 'Bunheads'?

HBO's "Girls" sparked plenty of conversation about casting people of color on TV, and "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes may start the same discussion with ABC Family's new series, "Bunheads."

In America: 'Grey's Anatomy' creator, actress discuss media diversity

Earlier this week, Rhimes tweeted her dismay at the cast lineup for the new comedy, which is about a Las Vegas showgirl who goes to work at her mother-in-law's dance school.

"Hey @abcfbunheads: really?" Rhimes wrote. "You couldn't cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?"

Rhimes' shows, of course - “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice” and now “Scandal” - all have casts that feature actors from a variety of backgrounds.

In America: 'Scandal' updates image of black women on network television

Still, Rhimes backed off a little when a follower argued that the dancing girls on "Bunheads" "were all different shapes & sizes.”

"I did love seeing girls of all shapes and sizes,” Rhimes replied. “That was great. Am a huge Gilmore Girls fan,” she said of "Gilmore Girls"-turned-“Bunheads” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. “Just pointing out one issue..."

What do you think - does Rhimes have a point? If you haven't yet seen the show for yourself, “Bunheads” airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.


Filed under: Celebrities • television

soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Samantha

    I saw the first episode of bunheads; I really enjoyed the pilot. I just graduated from film school. As a director, I try to make my casting diverse, because when I don't my films get placed in the urban section of the film festivals.

    [vimeo 22464409 w=500 h=281]

    June 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. thetroy

    LazyCash43.com

    June 16, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Come on Reall

    Come on lady get a grip. Im black and when I take my sister to ballet practice the only other group of people in there are white people ok its life its not a freaking crime or even wrong. If the people wrote the show based off of anything in their own lifes experience of course there would only be white girls. Is that something to look down on? NO...its life, get with it.

    June 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Angie D.

      You're white,and childish.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Courtney

      I have to disagree, I'm black and in my 50's. I took ballet lessons when I was a child. It's really a little girl thing, like piano lessons, there should be diversity. Young girls of all colours want to dance and take dance lessons, that's reality and it should be reflected on t.v.

      June 18, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SLS

    Really, all this after one episode? I'm getting really tired of being tried to feel bad because I am white. I've raised my kids to not even "see" the difference that keeps being pushed in their faces by the same people who don't want to be treated different.

    June 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • SLS

      I am white but I also have an English, Scot-Irish, and German-Jew heritage so I'm probably more ethnic than you. And guess what, my ancestors were also treated badly. We are all equal but some of us try to be and others just want to always play the victim.

      June 16, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • monstrosity

      Awww Poor lil white person... Yall love to talk about how your people were treated badly. Well, nobody chained them up to the bottom of a boat, and forced them to come here. Nobody bred them like animals and then took the children away from their mothers, Not parents, because the fathers were always sold to another owner. No chance to form a family nucleus. You know your ancestors, you can trace your heritage. too damn bad if you don't like it cause we want some black folks on TV. Shoot, you need to STFU.

      June 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ANDREA ANDERSON

      You may not realize this, but your statement is seriously racist. Firstly, you should not teach your children to "not see difference" because it negates and nullifies the experiences of a people who have fought and, still continue to fight for equality. There is a difference my friend. A HUGE difference, and you should allow your children to appreciate that and make informed choices.
      No one is asking you to "feel bad because you are white". As a black woman I am certainly not. But I don't want you to pretend and invalidate my experiences in a society that does still continue to struggle with issues of race and equality.

      June 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SLS

      I AM NOT A RACIST AND I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY OPINION AND THANKS, YOU JUST REINFORCED IT. GOOD BYE!

      June 18, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. NYbywayofTexas

    For those who are upset about Ms. Rhime's comment about diversity, lookat her statement again. Performers of colr are not just African American. People of color also incude the Latin, Asian, Native American persuasian also. Whether we want to believe it or not, America is becoming more of "Color" daily. It's time it lives up to it's creed and embrace the rainbow. Whether you want it to happen or not... It is a foregone conclusion. Stop the bickering and let's move on!!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Come on Son

      Why do they have to add it for the sake of appeasing one group especially if that character is an afterthough just so people can say "Oh wait look there's one of us". I'd feel worse if they had a minority on there just because they were forced to do so because 'everyone needs to feel included. Thats balogne

      June 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tara

      You can't talk logic and sense with white people they are single minded. That is the reason America is the only country that still have serious problem with race. They only think of black people when you say minority they actually can't believe there are Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, Native American and many other races defined as minority.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BET

    If there's any doubt about America being a racist society....just read thru these blogs. Sad....REALLy Sad!!!

    June 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kellee

      What I have learn is there are some kind hearted decent white people and there is the evil white devil who still do the NAZI salute to their picture of Adolf Hitler hanging next to their KKK Robes and those people are founded in America. Every other country including Australia has evolved. America has and will always be the land of inbred racist white devils who will single handed destroy this country and everyone in it. White deserve everything they get from the Muslims.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Diablo135

    Really? I'm all for diversity but does EVERY show have to be diverse? I'd rather have a show NOT be diverse than have a token actor playing some small role on there. It's insulting for the actor.

    June 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CarmenSo

    I tend not to watch shows that have an all white cast. I figure if the casting staff couldn't take to time to diversify their show then I don't have the time to watch it. Plus I feel like I am not the audience that the producers are trying to target. I have yet to see one episode of Friends.

    June 15, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Wood

      Agreed,.. i don't watch it either,.. but it's a choice. They don't have to produce anything to make anyone "feel good."

      I watch Grey's on occasion, but wouldn't touch other things.. Shonda's a great example of how it should work. She writes, and has influence over who appears. It's a show i want to watch. Some 20 year old writer of some show has what i consider a warped reality, .. but it's hers. When you try to force good results, it doesn' work.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Camel Spider

      Agreed. Perhaps. But. Having grown accustomed to primary white casts on TV over the years, I figured it would change over time at some point; and it has to a considerable degree, thanks to producers such as Ms. Rhimes. I am not going to dislike the CSI franchise, or Fringe, or Revenge because their central characters are white. However, TV productions with cultural diversity are substantially more entertaining to me since they are more reflective of the world around me and consequently get my viewing time. I can only imagine how our Asian and Hispanic population feels.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      You should watch "Friends" Both Ross and Joey dated Aisha Tyler (a fine woman of color) for almost two seasons.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rad666

    what a hypocrit, your kid can't watch the show because it's all white people. really? do you no think there are dance schools out there where every student is white, or every student is black..........Hmm Alvin Hailey dance troup, are they required to have dancers of all different colors?

    June 15, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica Vincent

      You're an idiot.

      June 15, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • JJames3000

      Actually, Alvin Ailey Dance School is extremely diverse. Sure the Professional Dance Theatre is mostly African American, however, go to most other dance theatres in New York and it is not diverse at all. Just look at the American Ballet Theatre or New York Ballet. There is just one ethnic minority as a Principal at ABT.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Central Scrutinizer

    Next thing you know, they'll make a show about hockey and the PC crowd will whine about there being no "people of color" being on the team. Sheesh!

    June 15, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Godabed

      there are people of color who actually do play hockey, maybe you should try a different sport that only white people play, like fishing, or waterpolo, or speed skating...

      June 15, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Reno

      @godabed,there are wealthy blacks in water and land polo,and I know that you know we fish.We also have a gold medal winning speed skater,geeeeesh.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Lilly 2121

      Hard as it may be for some people to believe, there are some situations in life where you will not see one single black person. I know I know, you think that is not true, but in actuality, it is no matter how many times you put your hands over your ears, close your eyes and say "lalalalalalalala" Go to any restaurant, any business function or meeting and you will run across a scenario where you won't see a single black. it does actually happen. Therefore, it is entirely plausible to see a movie or television show where there may not be a black person. Now I know, some of you may be crying "dat be racis" but that doesn't change the fact that I am right. When we get to a point in society that we have to monitor every TV show and situation to make sure we have a certain percentage of blacks we are not being true to the way the world actually is. Why is there no outrage that there are no blacks on the perpetrating end of any given ADT or Brinks Security commercial? Are there no criminals of color in the world? Of course not. That would be crazy. After all the they made up 45.1% of the American prison population in 2004 yet they are only 13% of this countries population as a whole. But yet we don't see Shonda whatever- her- name- is complaining about those little pieces of recorded brilliance do we? She just wants to keep it real doesn't she? She just wants to show that there are HUGE amounts of "people of color" in EVERY situation and profession in this country. Now, as I mentioned before, there are some situations in life where there are no blacks. Just as there are some situations in life where you will not see any whites. But as a rule of thumb, white people make up the vast majority of this countie's population by an overwhelming majority. This is just the truth. And, to have a show with an all white cast basically shows the demographic they are catering to. Does that make the show racist? No, not any more that "Good Times" or "The Cosby Show" Oh, but wait, that's not racist is it? it is okay to have an all black cast, but not okay to have an all white cast. Right, I forgot that.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJames3000

      @Reno. @godabed was being sarcastic.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJames3000

      @lily2121. The comment you made is extremely racist. First your use of the phrase 'dat be racis' is extremely offensive and racist. One, that is a stereotype that all people of color cannot speak Standard American English. Second, African American Vernacular English is a linguistically accepted dialect of American English. Third, most restaurants and businesses in my area are fairly diverse. Fourth, the reason that the American prison system is extremely skewed towards African Americans isn't because they commit more crimes, it's because disparity in the Justice system, including unequal sentencing guidelines for the same drugs in a different form, racial bias on sentencing for the same crime, and racial bias by the law enforcement community. There are many cases of when a person of European descent is given a more leniant sentencing than an ethnic minority. Look at New York City's 'Stop and Frisk' program. 87% of the people who were Stopped and Frisked were African American or Latino. Yet, they only make up 52% of the population of NYC. Also, on 10% of the Stop and Frisks resulted in an arrest.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Central Scrutinizer

    There's always at least one white guy on a bl@ck tv show, and they always make him look like a dumb@$$ or a racist.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. naug82

    Amy Sherman Palladino

    Check out Amy Sherman Palladino's response to Shonda's tweet: http://bit.ly/Ky6gL9

    June 15, 2012 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Barbara Reynolds

    Television is and always will be racist no matter what anyone says,and it's so easy for whites to say that it isn't.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Duggy Liel

    I remember a few months ago a lot of you white people going the f off about Rue of The Hunger Games being black,so stfu Shondra is right.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whatever

      Duggy I'm going to call you out on your BS. There were not 'a lot' of white people going off about Rue being black. What there was, was a small ignorant group of idiots, which EVERY ETHNICITY HAS by the way, which were vocal in their prejudice. Way to promote equality and understanding.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jowl

      Note to you: 43 white people on twitter (most of whose were just trolls) does not equal a majority of white people.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jokey

    How about you worry about your own shows, Shonda? Blacks are 12% of the population.. It is more common in real life to have groups of white people that do not include blacks. Tv should be allowed to reflect reality if they so choose. Smdh at these nagging multiculturalist ingrates.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Gotogirl

    It is sad that some people feel that they only can identify with those who look like them, so they will only watch television shows or read books with those ethnicities reflected. Aren't we all human and therefore subject to certain universal experiences? Really, you can't empathize with a character because they are of a different color? Sounds like these people are guilty of the racism they are trying to combat...Just saying.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kellee

      Well white people have indoctrinated this into our psyche for over 200 years. We didn't start having showing addressing the needs of black people until the 60's or 70's. I seriously believe if I was part Native American and Black I would still hate you people with a passion. I couldn't care less what you evil devil people feel about me.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Lynda

    Really? You are worried about the lack of people of color in this show? So you can feel good about your kid watching it? Lady your priorities are truly messed up. This show looks absolutely horrible. Why would you want your kid to watch it at all? I think rotting your kids brain with this type of TV crap is far worse than whining about the lack of a black girl on the show. Wah Wah Wah...maybe they had enough sense to back away from the show. You obviously don't.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Martly Mac

    @warrior 11209,it'll be like the crash of '29 all over again,lol.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  19. YUCK

    Funny. She did not single out the work of her friend Ryan Murphy. Why not attack American Horror Story for having only a white cast? And while we;re at it, why don;t we attack Darren Arronofsky for not making BLACK SWAN actually black. There were no black people in that film either. Why? because, for various reasons which do not obligate tv creators to change the truth, ballet has traditionally been a white dominated. If they are reflecting the universe of the story (as did Dunham with Girls), why should the creators be forced to engage in reverse bigotry via racial tokenism? Shonda Rimes is far too intelligent to attack other creators properties for racial inequities, I guess it must be a slow PR week.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Kathi

    So, why did they kill off the only male on this show? Where is the diversity on that? I think they should have actors of color on Bunheads, anything positive, like ballet dancing, that ANY child watching might want to try.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  21. GSH

    @derp why are you so upset?Why don't you want to share?You can hate PC all you want but until the revolution that's how it's going to be.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Heather

    Diversity??? I live on a reservation and we never see Native characters on most TV shows. We're here too but you'd never know it from prime time.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Piscesgal609

    She absolutey has a point. That's why I do not watch MadMen or Two and a Half Men and any other shows that do not have at least 1-2 supporting minorities. We live in a multicultural and diverse country and Hollywood execs still do not see that. That's why they will not get ratings from me.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      Do you also boycott shows that don't have 70% of the cast as white, and the remaining cast broken up between asian, black and latino characters?

      Or do you only discriminate against caucasians?

      June 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meaghan

      @Piscesgal609 seriously?! i understand you not watching two and a half men for this reason and because its an awful show but Mad Men?! It takes place in the 1960s about a white advertising exec. if they just threw in a bunch of different ethnicities it wouldn't exactly be accurate time wise to the world Don Draper is supposed to be living in. And they do have several minor actors and extras of color it's just not accurate to have it to the extent we feel is correct living in this time.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tamala

      @derp 7O% or more of television is white,did you watch Dallas last night.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tamala

      I get shows like Mad Men,the only reason i'd watch it is the ladies'fashion and the big hair it's very feminine.My mom dressed like that,lacy whole slips,garter belts,shift dresses,Jackie O suits and bouffant hairdos.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • QM

      MadMen? Are you for real? You refuse to watch a show set in the 60's because they don't feature black people in their office building? Are you HIGH? Do you understand how idiotic it would be to wedge in black people to meet a quota in the freaking early 60s??? It's stupid people like you who make racism worse than it is, by expecting everyone to bow to the race war, whether it makes sense or not.

      June 15, 2012 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Nazer

      Mad Men is a truly well written and well acted show. I have seen every episode and there have been several diverse characters represented. It may not be up to your standards in diversity, but if you don't watch it then how would you know what it represents? Mad Men also isn't afraid of making their main characters look bad regarding the issue of equality in the 1960s. I won't go into detail, but Mad Men is about as true to the time period and feelings of the 1960s as a show can get. After all, it is about advertising in New York on Madison Avenue and the upstate lives of their executives. How much diveristy do you really think was represented in reality? Sure, you have every right not to like the show but don't say its something that its not.

      I don't watch Two and A Half Men but thats just because its a crap show.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  24. NB

    All these "I'm tired of PC" just sounds like "I'm tired of fairness and equality" to me. VEry telling. Explains a lot of the discord and fearmongering going on in the country today.

    June 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • diablo135

      Or maybe NB, everyone is sick and tired of being afraid of upseeting morons liek you who have to have everything their way and not respect others' views.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  25. tko1023

    So sick of EVERYTHING having to be so PC. There doesn't have to be people of color in every freakin show! I watch shows with just mexicans, or just blacks, and i don't think to myself... hmmmm where are all the white people!?! Geezus, change the channel if you need to see someone that looks like you and you don't see them on a particular show Shonda!!!!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shaney T.G.

      What shows are you talking about?There always is a token white in those shows somewhere,they even have speaking roles.Where are the blacks and hispanics on HIMYM,Big Bang Theory,ect.I love these shows but these are shows about adults,young people do need to have themselves represented.The series Fame got me interested in dance,seeing those kids of color showed me that there were ballerinas that looked like me.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tara

      The level of stupidity of Americans are astounding. The comments on this board make me want to go over my brother house and slap the crap out of his wife just for being white. There are hundreds of cable/satellite channels and only four channel gear towards black people. The Mexican and illegal aliens have more channels than black people. I won't even get started with the Native American people. I honestly believe the white people in America is hoping the Natives die off or go way so they won't have to constantly deal with the guilty of murdering their entire people than moving them to one states to live for the rest of their life. It don't matter that they were there first for thousands of years.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  26. SAE

    @DERP well i am a black mom of a ballerina who lives in the burbs and my reality is diversity. i see it where i live....in the burbs. why shouldn't i see it on TV?

    June 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Samantha Powell

    I'm a black mom of two girls both are ballerinas and play in their school orchestras.Shondra's correct show some more diversity in those fields,our kids are taught they can achieve anything they want,but seeing it means a lot more.Also thanks to seeing Venus and Serena on television I have a tennis player.So if you don't like diversity you have a lot to choose from,still.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      Fine, if you don't think it looks like your kids dance class, don't watch it. It looks like 98% of the affluent suburban dance schools in America whether you like it or not.

      White people make up 70% of the population. 85% of the suburban population, and 98% of the affluent suburban population. The fact of the matter is that it is 98% likely that a affluent suburban dance class will be all white.

      Do you hear me whining about the fact that there are no white people on Tyler Perry horrendous TV show?

      No, because I don't watch it.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Samantha Powell

      @derp,I won't watch it,Tyler Perry's show is about a family not an activity,you'll never get it,stay in the suburb of denial,but the times they are a changing like it or not.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      Did you complain that there were Christians in Schindlers List?

      We need to be inclusive right.

      If someone makes a television show about an urban african Amerivcan ghetto, I don't expect to see white people in it. I don't complain if they aren't. It doesn't keep me from enjoying a great movie or television show, as long as it is a realistic depiction. You can demand things based on race if you want, or you can chose to see without color.

      June 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  28. derp

    There are exactly the same number of "girls of color" on that show as there were in my daughters ballet class.

    Zero.

    It's not their fault that a realistic image of a suburban dance class does not include people of color.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  29. CAL

    Really JD??Pliny?? Its 2012?....she should be happy her kid can watch a show??? Fed up with diversity??? (like we couldnt tell you were a white male lol)..those comment sounds like something from 50 yrs ago. So, what do I tell my daughter when she asks me, Mom why are there no black people on the TV shows and commercials she watches? Oh baby, just be glad you can watch TV?????? Give me a break... 2012 it is and we still have a long way to go. Thank you Shonda, for trying to make a change!!!!! BTW her shows are the best ones on TV!

    June 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Observer

    Everyone's a critic...

    June 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Pliny

    Dear Shonda Rhimes,

    Look around you. American is not a Bennetton advertizement.
    The fact is, as a white male, I am fed up with diversity.
    Your politically-correct, advertizer-mandated view of the world is just that....YOURS.
    The reality is very different.
    And I'm fed up with having YOUR version of reality being shoved down my throat.
    I'm also fed up with having to listen to you whine everytime someone doesn't kowtow to your agenda.
    Grow up. If you want to be equal....then try acting like it. Stop leaning on the PC crutch.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • tko1023

      Well said Pliny!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • warrior11209

      Can not wait until 2020 when the white male is not the majority – you will pass out when the commercials and television shows will cater to people of Hispanic origins. lol lol lol. Let's see who is on the PC crutch then

      June 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  32. JD

    Really, this coming from the women who all the power people in her shows started out of color???? But its ok to have an all "color" tv sit com...But have an all white one and out come the chains and shackles...Really Rhimes its 2012, diversity is great in the work place but please don't use the "color" card. Let's just sit down in front of the TV and enjoy the show and storyline......Shouldn't you be happy your kid can watch a show just for the shear enjoyment????

    June 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |

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